What kind of galaxy is the Pinwheel Galaxy?

Located about 21 million light-years away from the Earth toward the Ursa Major (Great Bear) constellation, the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101 or NGC 5457) is another face-on, ‘grand design’ spiral galaxy. It is a huge galaxy containing about a trillion stars.

What kind of radiation can you see in a galaxy?

Apart from the visible light spectrum, instruments on NASA’s and ESA’s powerful telescopes can detect infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, gamma rays, and other radiation emitted by stars, galaxies, nebulae, etc. The invisible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation can reveal features not seen in the visible light spectrum.

What kind of picture is the Sombrero Galaxy?

The beautiful picture displayed above is a composite image of the Sombrero Galaxy, formed by combining its visible light spectrum and (color-coded) infrared light spectrum images, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively.

Are there any satellite galaxies to the Milky Way?

The fine print is that the Milky Way Galaxy has a number of small satellite galaxies, which are actually much closer to it than the Andromeda Galaxy. A few examples of these satellite galaxies are the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy (SagDEG), the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the Small Magellanic Cloud.

There are 3 different types of galaxies, elliptical, spiral, and irregular. M101 is a grand design spiral galaxy, just like the Whirlpool Galaxy (shown at far left in the image below). As far a galaxies go, the apparent size of the Pinwheel Galaxy is one of the largest and brightest in the observable night sky.

When is the best time to photograph the Pinwheel Galaxy?

In the Northern hemisphere, the months of March and April are likely the best time to capture the Pinwheel Galaxy. This is because the Ursa Major constellation swings up high overhead, putting M101 is a convenient location for imaging.

Where can you see the Pinwheel Galaxy in binoculars?

M101 appears at a point where it would roughly form an equilateral triangle with the two stars. The Pinwheel Galaxy can be found in 40mm and 50mm binoculars, but it only appears as a hazy patch. To see the galaxy’s bright nucleus and faint spiral arms, you need at least a 4 inch telescope and very dark skies.

Where to find the Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major?

To find the Pinwheel Galaxy, first locate the Big Dipper asterism in Ursa Major. Then look to the two stars at the end of the handle (or the bear’s tail), Alkaid (Eta Ursae Majoris) and Mizar (Zeta Ursae Majoris). Find the midpoint between the two bright stars and draw a line up.