Vacuum Cleaner Galaxy (M109) - Stacked image obtained with BHAS Hidden Valley Observatory's 12" Meade LX200 (305 mm aperture).
Imaged by Richard Walker in May 2018. Image integration time: 50 minutes (10 stacked five-minute exposures). M109 is a beautiful barred spiral galaxy in
Charles Messier's famous catalog of bright Nebulae and Star Clusters. It is found just below the Big Dipper's bowl in the northern constellation Ursa Major.
Its striking central bar gives the galaxy the appearance of the Greek letter "theta", θ, a common mathematical symbol representing an angle. M109 spans a very
small angle in planet Earth's sky (about 7 arcminutes or 0.12 degrees), but that small angle corresponds to an enormous 120,000 light-year diameter. The
galaxy's estimated distance from Earth is 60 million light-years.
Back to SD Space Grant Consortium