That’s One Giant Snail

Here is my first attempt for 2022 of a widefield rendition of the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51 or M51) which is located in the constellation of Canes Venatici. It is located approximately 31 million light years away from Earth and is known to be the first galaxy to classified as a spiral galaxy. M51 is estimated to be about 60 thousand lights across. Imagine with me… if you were to turn on a light on one end of the galaxy, it would take 60 thousand years before the light can be seen at the extreme other end of the galaxy. This is one gigantic hunk of dust/rocks/gas and โ€˜whatever elseโ€™ sitting in space! When I look at the Whirlpool Galaxy, I see a snail; what do you see? That is one giant snail!

Mount: Explore Scientific EXOS2GT mount

Camera: Altair Hypercam TEC 26c

Main Scope: Skywatcher ED72 APO + flattener

Guiding: Svbony 30mm f/4 + ASI120MC

Exif: 29 frames at 5 mins; Gain 200; Offset 3; TEC to 10 C; focal length 420mm; f/5.6

Astro Pixel Processor, PixInsight, Photoshop, PHD2, Topaz Denoise


  1. Hi Drex!
    Well I have to say this is one of my most favorite deep sky objects. How cool is it that one Galaxy is eating another galaxy?
    Pretty cool I think ๐Ÿ˜Ž.
    Anyhow just to let you know that I was able to locate and find this object from St Thomas with my old 6 in reflector. However it basically appeared visually as an elongated blue-green smudge without much detail. However there was no doubt that I had located the object and that was it.
    Now as a caveat, I am only looking at your photo on my small screen telephone. However surprisingly enough I am able to blow it up and capture quite a bit of detail.
    You’ve really got the spiral arms in there quite a bit of color differentiation between the big and the small Galaxy, and pretty good resolution of the bright stars which considering the distance may be stars in the foreground as opposed to the background I’m not sure.
    Anyhow, since this is a fairly well defined and relatively bright deep sky object. I’m going to suggest that you fool around and see what you can do to capture this at the greatest magnification you are capable of.
    Not sure if the best way to do that is through eye pieces, focal length enhancers such as Barlow’s, or if you can do that digitally.
    I’m just thinking with an object like that you might be surprised at how much magnification you can actually put to it and it will still remain sharp.
    Don’t know if that’s a viable suggestion, but just a thought. Anyhow great to see you’re still at it, and again one of my favorites! Hey love your family pictures too by the way ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒ›

    1. Hey my friend. Well we are thinking along the same lines. This is actually a warm up for me capturing with my 1370mm Ritchey Chretien scope. Just waiting on a small accessory to arrive. Definitely looking forward to that one. Itโ€™s also Milky Way season again and I already captured my inaugural for the season. Will be posting on Saturday. Stay tuned.

  2. This is amazing. It really does look like a snail. Keep doing this wonderful work. It lightens up the day. Thanks.

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