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M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy

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#1 lunar

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 02:56 PM

I just happened to step outside last night around 10pm, and guess what I saw? Black, clear, and crisp skies! I could hardly believe my eyes, so I ran and got my things and went outside. I looked at the Whirlpool for a little while, saw it's spiral arms and immediately began sketching. The whole field was pretty sharp, and with averted vision I could see quite a bit of detail and more spiral structure than I've ever seen before. Hopefully I'll get another shot at this while it's still near zenith because there was a lot of problems with reflections cast into the field due to the nearby suburban lights.

Questions, Comments & suggestions are always welcome :jump:

Clear Skies,
Brandon Doyle

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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:01 PM

That's a very nice sketch! Thanks for sharing.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#3 lunar

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for the kind compliment, and I wish you the best of luck with your observations & sketches too :jump:

Brandon Doyle

#4 hbanich

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:09 PM

Excellent sketch Brandon, it looks like a faithful reproduction of what you saw. I'm impressed that you didn't depict the connection between NGC 5194 and 5195 as a discrete line like the brighter areas of the spiral arms, but as a diffuse glow.

Next time you observe M51 you might want to try seeing the sharp bend in the northern spiral arm in the area between the cores of 5194 and 5195. Photos show this sharp bend quite well, and I'll bet you'll see it too if you look for it. Good luck!

#5 niteskystargazer

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:20 PM

Brandon,

:waytogo:, your beautiful sketch of the Whirlpool Galaxy :)

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#6 lunar

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:48 PM

Thank you for the compliments :jump:

And Howard, thank you for the suggestion! I'll make sure I look into that detail then next time I have this in the eyepiece. I might even just sketch it all over again!

Thank you & clear skies,
Brandon Doyle

#7 Mentor

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 04:09 PM

That is a superb image, especially considering the less than ideal stray light conditions that you were observing under. Very nice sketch!

#8 JayinUT

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

Nicely done. Your arms are distinct and the halo is evident. Again, terrific job.

#9 frank5817

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:34 PM

Brandon,

A very fine capture of M51 and NGC5195.
You did indeed capture much detail.

Frank :)

#10 TenthEnemy

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 12:25 AM

That is a very accurate representation of how M51 looks in a 10" telescope.

NGC 5195 actually has some details as well, but it requires a bit more magnification than M51. I've found my best views of M51 to be between 150 and 200x, and my best views of 5195 between 250 and 300x.

#11 CarlosEH

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 12:43 AM

Brandon,

An outstanding observation of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). You have captured the delicate spiral arms and bridge very nicely. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

#12 azure1961p

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 06:58 AM

Brandon,

Thats a really nice smooth sketch - you really nailed the subtle nature of the deepsky look of it, the crisp nuclei and the arms glowing from out of the haze. A really satisfying sketch to behold. Moreover, you have shown 5195's nucleus to be sharper than 5194's - exactly how i see it with my 8. 5195 will have this amazing crisp stab of light when the seeing settles - then it goes to hell a second later and it softens a bit - Ive always appreciated 5195's nucleus for its unique clarity. Below I inverted your sketch to lend it a deep[er]sky look - hope you dont mind!

Pete

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#13 Jef De Wit

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 06:58 AM

Fine sketch. Personaly, I prefer a black background...

#14 Rutilus

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 07:59 AM

Brandon - A most beautiful sketch indeed.

#15 lunar

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 07:38 PM

Thanks for all the compliments :jump:

And I really do appreciate you inverting the colors of my sketch azure1961p. The reason I don't do this anymore is because the monitor of the computer I use isn't very good & I find it difficult to see anything against a black backround. Plus, if I was to invert it myself I'm not sure how the brightnesses and contrasts would look on your computer monitors as compared to mine. For this reason, I just keep it on a white backround.

Once again, thank you,
Brandon Doyle

#16 JayKSC

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:40 PM

Great sketch of this galaxy duo, Brandon - I especially like it with the inverted background Pete provided. As others have mentioned, you've done good work capturing the subtle light differences in the main galaxy and its diffuse halo as well as with the companion's sharper core. With my 150mm scope under modestly dark skies, NGC 5195 takes on a boxy but quite bright glow - seemingly brighter than NGC 5194. This is probably an illusion caused by the light gradients.

Thanks for posting!

- Jay
South Florida

#17 IVM

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:01 PM

Very nice, thanks for posting. It was interesting to compare with my observation on the same night (which indeed surprised with usably clear skies) from North-Central PA. I am going to post it in my blog and for discussion in the deep sky forum here. The sharper nucleus in NGC 5195 and the issue of how exactly the northern arm of NGC 5194 continues (or doesn't) over the companion, which were brought up in this thread thanks to your drawing, are indeed interesting visual features of this double system, and I like the meticulous depiction of them in your drawing.

I find that raising the "output black" level in the Photoshop "Levels" dialog after inverting helps ensure visibility of faint detail on a wider variety of monitors. I.e. making the sky not black but dark grey - which usually is also realistic for typical deep-sky apertures and magnifications.

#18 lunar

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for the compliments :jump: And I can't wait to see your sketch of M51 & NGC 5195 IVM, I'll bet it's pretty sweet. Through my 10" reflector the spiral arm that connects these two objects seemed...broken, in a way, or like it wasn't continuous. I'm always wondering these days about what a through a much larger telescope than mine would do to all the deep sky objects I've sketched, and what it might reveal in objects that I've never seen before, and couldn't possibly see in this aperture. Like say, the jet coming out of the nucleus of M87, which I've always dreamt of seeing. However, I've read that 20" of aperture - minimum - is required to see this. Maybe averted vision wouldn't even be required in a 'scope that large to see the arms of M51, and extensive detail could be seen, not just dim lines representing the arms.

Anyways, once again thanks for te compliments:)

Clear Skies,
Brandon Doyle

#19 Carol L

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 09:20 PM

Excellent observation, Brandon! :grin: Impromptu sessions are fun, especially when you get such a sweet view. Here's hoping you get another chance real soon.






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