Flintstone Stargazing

October 11, 2007

The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101)


M101-Pinwheel Galaxy on 10/11/07

Well lookee there! I’ve tried to image this at least 3 times with no success. Tonight, though, I was able to finally spot it and get enough images to tease out some detail. The Pinwheel Galaxy is aptly named – you can see the spiral arms of this galaxy as we view it from almost directly overhead (or is it underneath?).

It is located above and in between the two leftmost stars on the handle of the Big Dipper. Actually if you could see it with the naked eye it would appear to form an equilateral triangle with those two stars at the base. The Big Dipper article on Wikipedia includes M101 in it so you can see what I mean here. I also noticed in the Wikipedia article on M101 that in A Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books from one of my favorite authors) the planet Uriel is located in the Pinwheel Galaxy. I don’t think Uriel is visible in this picture.

There was a lot of noise I had to cut out on this image due to the number of cars shining their headlights right into my telescope (this is low on the horizon and in the northwest so I’m looking right across my street) so I hope to get another version of this somewhere really dark and when it’s higher in the sky.

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