Photo of the day
October 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Found a gallery on these awesome Astronomy Photos of the year at the Post. But they make you wait through an annoying 30 second video. I figured I could just go right to the source (and get larger images, too). Here’s the winner:
M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy by Martin Pugh (UK/Australia)
19 June 2012
What the photographer says:
‘I was always going to be excited about this image given the exceptional seeing conditions M51 was photographed under and the addition of several hours of Ha data has really boosted the HII regions.’
Planewave 17-inch CDK telescope; Software Bisque Paramount ME mount; Apogee U16M camera
What it shows:
M51 or the Whirlpool is the archetypal spiral galaxy and for centuries astronomers have studied it in order to understand how galaxies form and evolve. Here the photographer has made use of exceptionally stable atmospheric conditions, minimising the twinkling or ‘seeing’ caused by air turbulence to produce a sharp, clear image in which every detail of the galaxy is visible.
M51 has been drawn and photographed many times, from the sketches of astronomer Lord Rosse in the 19th century to modern studies by the Hubble Space Telescope. This photograph is a worthy addition to that catalogue. It combines fine detail in the spiral arms with the faint tails of light that show how M51’s small companion galaxy is being torn apart by the gravity of its giant neighbour.