The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a and NGC 5194 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, approximately 23 million light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy.

I captured this image over a 2 hour period at one of our club's observing sights in Johnston County, NC.

Camera: Canon T2i EOS 550D (unmodified)
Telescope: Orion ED80T CF Triplet APO Refractor
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Guiding: Orion SSAG w/50mm guide scope.
Software: BackyardEOS for acquisition, DeepSkyStacker for calibration and stacking, Photoshop CS 5.1 for post-processing.
Light frames: 23, 300 seconds, ISO 800
Dark Frames: 8
Flat Frames: 5 with 5 dark flats.

Location: Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center in Four Oaks, NC.
March 7-8, 2013.

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