Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Astrophotographer: Captures Colossal Pinwheel Galaxy

The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101 or NGC 5457) is estimated to contain at least one trillion stars, about 100 billion of them could be similar to our sun.
CREDIT: Thierry Legault

Equipped with an arsenal of telescopes and cameras, a French skywatching enthusiast had to venture beyond his suburban home in the so-called City of Lights to capture a brilliant deep-sky image of the Pinwheel Galaxy.

"I live in the suburbs of Paris, in a site that is very polluted by city lights," amateur astronomer Thierry Legault wrote on his website.

"From my backyard, I can take images of the sun, the moon, planets and nebulas with narrow band filters.

For deep sky imaging (galaxies, comets, nebulas...), I am obliged to go in the land, after loading my van."

The talented astrophotographer, who has become known for his eye-catching images, works as an engineer by day.

The Pinwheel Galaxy, which is also known as Messier 101 or NGC 5457, is a spiral galaxy 21 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.

The galaxy was first discovered by Pierre M├ęchain on March 27, 1781. Charles Messier confirmed its position and it was included in the astronomer's famous Messier Catalogue as one of the final entries.

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