The Whirlpool galaxy, AKA Messier 51, a spiral galaxy colliding with a second galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major.
As part of Spring 2011's Astronomy (Physics 105) course, students chose viable celestial targets based on their targets' location, magnitude, and apparent size, and then photographed them. For convenience the astrophotography sessions were conducted on Chambers Lawn and the surrounding street lamps were turned off by the Physical Plant. Also for convenience, all images were taken with 30 minutes or less of total exposure time. Students used telephoto lenses, small refractors and the Physics Department's 8-inch Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain telescope for imaging. All images were taken with Canon 450D digital SLR cameras (either modified or unmodified). A few images were captured unguided, but most were captured by using a guidescope and guide camera which were used to control the mount via software.
Photos best seen when your monitor is adjusted so that you can see all black-gray-white levels above.