The M51 is one of the most popular known spiral galaxies ever known. M51 is approximately 37,000,000 light years away and is the biggest galaxy in a group that also contains M-63. According to seds.org, M51 was discovered by Charles Messier on October 17th, 1783. The galaxy was found while he was studying a comet, and it is called M51 due to Messier name. It is said that the galaxy was one of the first where the spiral structure was discovered. Recent understandings show that the spiral structure is due to the fact that M51 had an encounter with NGC 5195. Because of this, it is said that the gas in the galaxy distributed and then compressed, which caused the formation of young stars.
The whirlpool galaxy M51 is approximately 58,000 light years across. The arms in M51 are its biggest feature, and is consist of a good amount of dust located within them. The red and blue color in the galaxy spectrum consist of star formation. The blue color in the spiral galaxy consist of new stars forming that are filled with hydrogen gas.The redness in the structure is the hydrogen and because it is hot, that is what makes it the color that it is. The black lines in throughout the spirals is dust that collects from the forming of the new stars. The middle of the galaxy is much brighter which because the stars are brighter. The edges of the galaxy are newer stars, or stars that have not been formed yet. There is also evidence of a nuclear black hole located in the galaxy.
Whirlpool Galaxy. Accessed 12 April. 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlpool_Galaxy
Hubble Reveals the Heart of the Whirlpool Galaxy. Accessed 12. April. 2011
|Right Ascension (J2000)||13:29:54|
|Filters used||B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)|
|Exposure time per filter||5X60 B, V, R and Clear (60)|
|Date observed||April 5th, 2011|