A few images from Friday nights trek to HC.

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting[6] grand-design[7] spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus[8] in the constellation Canes Venatici. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way,[3] but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky.[9] The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars.[10] 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.