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The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 23 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.[3] first discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781, and communicated to Charles Messier who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries. M101 is a relatively large galaxy compared to the Milky Way. With a diameter of 170,000 light-years it is nearly twice the size of the Milky Way. It has a disk mass on the order of 100 billion solar masses, along with a small bulge of about 3 billion solar masses[8] Another remarkable property of this galaxy is its huge and extremely bright H II regions, of which a total of about 3,000 can be seen on photographs. H II regions usually accompany the enormous clouds of high density molecular hydrogen gas contracting under their own gravitational force where stars form. H II regions are ionized by large numbers of extremely bright and hot young stars. On photographs M101 can be seen to be asymmetrical on one side. It is thought that in the recent past (speaking in galactic terms) M101 underwent a near collision with another galaxy and the associated gravitational tidal forces caused the asymmetry. In addition, this encounter also amplified the density waves in the spiral arms of M101. The amplification of these waves leads to the compression of the interstellar hydrogen gas, which then triggers strong star formation activity.


 

Image Details

  Pinwheel Galaxy Unfiltered

Imaging Details
NCG Number:
5457

Common Name(s):
Pinwheel Galaxy

Other Designations:
Messier 101

Object Type:
Face On Galaxy

Object
Galaxy

Constellation:
Canes Venatici

RA / 
14:03:12
Dec:
54:20:57


Distance:
23 Million light-yrs

Object Size:
28 arcsec

Magnitude:
V 7.8
Date:
June 30, 2010


Location:
Auburn, IN  46706
(41° 18' 37.8" N, 85° 04' 21.6" W)


Equipment:
RC-16 2 f/8.5
SBIG ST11000M
Mathis MI-750 Fork Mount

Integrations:
C :  15 min (3 x 300 sec)
     
     
     
     


Software:
Maxim/DL 4.57
 
Photoshop CS3