The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 appear like a grand spiral staircase flowing through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas studded with dust. Such striking arms are a hallmark of grand-design spiral galaxies. In a recent development, the Whirlpool galaxy was captured by an amateur photographer Yuvnish Bhardwaj from Squamish, Canada. 

Yuvnish has shared this photograph from his Facebook account.

WHIRLPOOL GALAXY ! Shot with astromodified Canon T2i and 8 inch Meade SC telescope with focal length 2032mm. Total 2.5…

Posted by Yuvnish Bhardwaj on Thursday, April 1, 2021

The image is shot with Astro modified Canon T2i and 8 inch Meade SC telescope with focal length 2032mm. 

Total 2.5 hours of integration in cold Windy Bortle 3 Dark site in Squamish BC.

The amateur photographer has said that “it took him three hours to balance this 10 kg set up on Eqr pro mount in order to guide perfectly at that focal length on windy dark night.”

He added by saying that “Collimation fell apart due to a drop in temperature to -10. But when 1st sub popped up camera screen, I was stunned to have photographed from 31 million light-years away from earth!”

The Whirlpool Galaxy is also known as Messier 51a, M51a, and NGC 5194

The galaxy and its companion, NGC 5195, smaller galaxy, NGC 5195, has been circling around M51 in a gravitational collision for the last half billion years or so. It’s now slightly behind M51.

The star bridge connecting them and the dust clouds are covering part of NGC 5195 are both a result of the ongoing gravitational interaction, which will eventually cause the two galaxies to merge in the upcoming time. 

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