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M 31 - Andromeda Galaxy - NGC 224


This great galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way, lying some 2.54 million light years away. It is estimated to be about twice our size, but is far from being the largest in mass. It is moving towards us at a rate of about 100 km/sec, but it will take another 2.5 billion years for the two to collide.

Two satellite galaxies, M32 and M 110, can be seen readily in the above image; M32, the brighter one on Andromeda's left, is what is known as an eliptical galaxy.

M 33 - Triangulum Galaxy - NGC 598


This spiral galaxy is the third-largest in our Local Group, after Andromeda and the Milky Way. Estimates done more recently place it about 2.9 million light years from us. I have only had the opportunity to do Luminance Filter sub-frames and RGB Filtered data will have to wait until a suitably moonless night with good seeing appears.

M 81 & M 82 - Bode's Nebula - Cigar Galaxy


Messier 81 and M 82 in Ursa Major are two companion galaxies that Johann Bode discovered in 1774. We are looking at objects that are estimated to be about 12 million light-years away. It is interesting to note that in January of 2014 a supernova, SN 2014J, was discovered by chance by an ungraduate class at the University of London Observatory - see next image.

M 82 - Cigar Galaxy - Supernova SN 2014J


I had just begun astrophotography so this is an early photograph using the Vixen VC200L telescope and a Canon 5D Mark 3 that was not modified. The supernova is that bright spot at the upper end of the Cigar Galaxy.

M 101 - Pinwheel Galaxy


I have found great difficulty getting this to work only because of the light pollution in my area. I remember the moon was near full when I was imaging this. Its low surface brightness also adds to the problem. It is a magnificent spiral galaxy that is very asymmetric. Its distance from us has been estimated to be around 27 million light-years. I hope to improve on this as time permits.

M 51 - Whirlpool Galaxy - NGC 5194


This cosmic question mark is probably the most photogenic galaxy in the northern sky. The spiral structure of the Whirlpool Galaxy is said to be the result of the close encounter and interaction between M 51 and its companion galaxy NGC 5195. It is about 23 million light-years from Earth, and contains 160 billion solar masses. In size, it is said to be that of our Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies. Two supernovae have been discovered in M 51 so far, SN 1994L and SN 2005CS. This is a LRGB integration.

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