Images in this gallery were taken at the VISION IN TIME OBSERVATORY located in Peoria, Arizona unless otherwise noted. Click on the first image to see them presented in larger format.
M101 can be seen just off the double star in the Big Dipper (Mizar). The mass of this system is about 16 billion suns. It is estimated to be only about 15 million light years away with an edge to edge size of about 90,000 light years. This is one of the bluest galaxies since much of the light from the stars comes from the arms which have very hot stars.
M66 & M65 are seen as pictured through a 76mm TeleVue scope mounted piggy back on an LX200 10" scope. To find this pair you need a wide field, lower powered telescope aimed at Leo on a dark site. Both galaxies are spirals. The galaxies are located between 30 and 35 million light years away from us. We think they are seperated by about 190,000 light years. M66 is at the lower left and M65 is more centered.
M61 is a good example of a "face on" spiral galaxy. You can see the difference between M61... a "face on" galaxy and NGC 4565... an "edge on" galaxy. Looking at M61, you are looking down on the galaxy from the top. With the edge on galaxy, you are looking at it from the side. M61 is about 110,000 light years wide from edge to edge. We think it has about 45 billion stars in the system. It is about 65 million light years away. Astronomers note that the arms of the galaxy show several sudden changes in direction rather than a smooth curved motion like you see on other spiral galaxies. This is most noted in the picture of the left arm which takes almost a 90 degree turn.
M51 is located about 35 million light years away. It shows a good defined spiral motion. It is about 100,000 light years wide with an estimated 160 billion suns. This image was taken with CCD camera and the LX200 10" telescope.
M33 is a difficult galaxy to image. The stars in the galaxy are faint and it takes a great deal of time to gather the light. We think M33 is the next nearest galaxy to us after M31. Astronomers place this object about 2.4 million light years away.
NGC 4565 is a very good example of a galaxy which we see "on edge"... If you look at the picture you can see the relationship between the central bulge and the edge of the galaxy arms. This galaxy resides in an area of the sky called the Coma I Galaxy Cloud. This galaxy is about 31 million light years away (31,000,000 light years). It is about 125,000 light years long from tip to tip. It is estimated to have more than 11 billion suns int it ( 11,000,000,000 suns). In this image you can see the faint dust lane in the middle.
M64 is sometimes called the "Black-Eye Galaxy" due to the black dust lane located under the tightly packed, bright, central core of stars in the center of the galaxy. The outer stars of the galaxy are spinning around the core and fan out for great distances. The Black-Eye galaxy is about 24,000,000 (million) light years away from Earth. It is estimated that there are as many as 21,000,000,000 (billion) suns in this galaxy. The central core is so tightly packed with bright stars that it appears as a white solid area in the picture with dim stars all around it. The reality of the fact is that there is so much light coming from the central core we can not seperate the individual stars from this distance. The width of the galaxy from one end to the other is about 65,000 (thousand) light years wide. This picture is a composite of 30 images taken at prime focus with a 10" Meade LX200 telescope early in the morning. The camera is a Meade 416 XT CCD camera with a color wheel. Each image was about 50 seconds long. They were stacked on top of each other to get the image you see here. Ed Registrato