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Check out this amazing pair of Hubble Space Telescope photos of M51, aka the Whirlpool Galaxy:


Click the image to see the Hubble site with lots of information.

The left photo shows the galaxy as we normally view it - in visible light - revealing the spiral arms, red star-forming regions, and blue star clusters.

The right image - taken in near-infrared light - removes most starlight to reveal the Whirlpool Galaxy's sweeping dust lanes.

If you have a telescope of 8" aperture or greater and can take it out into dark skies, you, too, can easily see this galaxy's spiralling arms and its companion galaxy (see my icon). Bring a nice astro-camera and you'll be able to take gorgous photos, yourself, as long as you can do long exposures. If you have an infrared filter for your camera, you can capture the underlying dust structure, as well.

I loves me a big galaxy facing us flat-on like this!

Best,
Chris

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
clevermanka
Jan. 26th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
That's gorgeous! I love spirals designs. And you know me and red...
mckitterick
Jan. 27th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Isn't it? Spiral galaxies are awesome. And we live in one!
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 27th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Isn't it, though? Your icon suggests you're another M51 fan ;-)
(Deleted comment)
karin_gastreich
Jan. 27th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
Awesome photos, Chris! Thanks for sharing them.
mckitterick
Jan. 27th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
The Hubble Space Telescope is what prompted me to buy my first high-end computer, because I wanted to be able to process those early mega-resolution shots. Just wow.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )