What we call M51 is
actually an image of 2
potentially interacting
galaxies, NGC5194 and
NGC 5195. It is likely that
the smaller member, 5195,
is further away, since the
dust lanes from the
Whirlpool seem to cross in
front of it. Also note
several tiny backround
galaxies in this image.

Tucked within the handle
of the Big Dipper, but
actually a denizen of
Canes Venatici, not Ursa
Major,  M51 is one of the
most photographed deep
sky objects, and my
personal favorite since
childhood...Who can call
himself "astrophotographer"
without having conquered
the Whirlpool!
  M51 -- the Whirlpool Galaxy
   Click on image to enlarge
OGS 10" RC @ f/9
LX200 10" SCT @ f/10
SBIG ST10XME/AO7
CFW8

LRGB:
L= 10 min x 24, 1x1
R= 10 min x 8, 2x2
G= 10 min x 8, 2x2
B= 10 min x 8, 2x2

Lum's taken with RC
RGB's taken with SCT

Processed using CCD
soft, AIP4WIN, Registar,
Neat Image, and Adobe
PS