M101 - The pinwheel galaxy
M101 is a face-on spiral galaxy about 21 million light years from earth. It is found in the handle of the big dipper portion of the Ursa Major constellation. What makes it a good astrophotography target is the size of the galaxy and the galaxies that are visible nearby. This photograph was taken using a Nikon D5000 set at ISO 1000 and a six-inch F-5 reflector. The resultant image is a stack of four ten-minute exposures:
The galaxy to the upper left is NGC 5474. The small galaxy to the upper right is NGC 5477. Near the right edge of the field is NGC 5473, which appears almost star-like.