This is 15 hours of Messier 51 taken over a 2 year period. Some data came from April of 2010, while newer data came from 3 nights in May 2011. The Whirlpool Galaxy, as it is called, is an interacting spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 31 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions. This image was taken with the Hyperion Astrograph, guided by CCDAutopilot automation software.