ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Whirlpool Galaxy. Whirlpool Galaxy (M51a, NGC 5194) and its smaller companion galaxy (NGC 5195, M51b). North is at top. They are some 23 million light years away, in the constellation of Canes Venatici. At the time, such objects were still thought to be nebulae. This 90-minute exposure was obtained in March 1897, from the observatory in Daramona, Westmeath, Ireland, operated by Irish astronomer William Edward Wilson (1851-1908), one of the pioneers of the new techniques of astrophotography. Published in 'Astronomical and Physical Researches' (1900).
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