Messier 101

109. Messier 101


Messier 101  RA: 14h 03.2'  Dec: +54 21'   Ursa Major (UMa)

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The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101, M101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy 21 million light-years (6.4 megaparsecs) away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and was communicated that year to Charles Messier, who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.

On February 28, 2006, NASA and the European Space Agency released a very detailed image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, which was the largest and most-detailed image of a galaxy by Hubble Space Telescope at the time. The image was composed of 51 individual exposures, plus some extra ground-based photos.

On August 24, 2011, a Type Ia supernova, SN 2011fe, was discovered in M101.
 
Supplementary Image




Supplementary Data or Comments

NGC 5474 is a peculiar dwarf galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is one of several companion galaxies of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101), a grand-design spiral galaxy. Among the Pinwheel Galaxy's companions, this galaxy is the closest to the Pinwheel Galaxy itself. The gravitational interaction between NGC 5474 and the Pinwheel Galaxy have strongly distorted the galaxy. As a result, the disk is offset relative to the nucleus.The star formation in this galaxy (as traced by hydrogen spectral line emission) is also offset from the nucleus. NGC 5474 shows some signs of a spiral structure. As a result, this galaxy is often classified as a dwarf spiral galaxy, a relatively rare group of dwarf galaxies.


Main Image Information

Location Texas Star Party
Date May 4 2016
Optics Orion 10 f/3.9
Filters Baader MPCC
Mount Celestron CGE
Camera Nikon D810A
ISO 1600
Subexposures 10
Exposure Length 300
Guider KwiqGuider
 

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All images copyright © 2006-2021, Rick Saunders
Main text descriptions sourced from Wikipaedia.
Sky position information is based on IP geolocation and is therefore approximate.