The Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51) is a famous spiral galaxy located some 23 million light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier, its spiral form was later discovered by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in 1845. At magnitude 8.4, it’s well within range of a small telescope and binoculars, but you’ll need good, clear dark skies to see it.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
20:48 UT – Neptune appears 2.8° north of asteroid 4 Vesta. (Neptune: magnitude 7.9, diameter 2.2”. Vesta: magnitude 7.6. Aquarius, pre-dawn sky.)
Mercury leaves Pisces and enters Aries. (98% illuminated, magnitude -1.8, diameter 5.1”. Not visible.)
The face-on spiral galaxy M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, culminates tonight. (Magnitude 8.4. Canes Venatici, all night. See images above.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are easily visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Learn more about upcoming astronomical events in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle Edition and Paperback Edition) and 2016 An Astronomical Year (North American Kindle Edition.)
The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com