Click the image for the full story or to download a massive, 75-megabyte image.
This is one of the first galaxies I ever observed with my Crown Optics 6" f/8 Newtonian reflector on its German equatorial mount, back in about 1983. Though it was breathtaking to see with my own eyes, to find with my own instrument and my own hands, it was not nearly so gorgeous as in this photo.
If you have a fast connection, do take a look at the amazing downloadable image. Now, off to dinner with the Workshoppers!