The Pinwheel Galaxy, known as Messier 101, is a face-on spiral galaxy 21 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and was communicated that year to Charles Messier, who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.
M101 is a large galaxy, with a diameter of 170,000 light-years. By comparison, the Milky Way has a diameter of between 100,000 and 120,000 light-years. It has around a trillion stars. It has a disk mass on the order of 100 billion solar masses, along with a small central bulge of about 3 billion solar masses. Its characteristics can be compared to those of Andromeda Galaxy.
M101 has a high population of H II regions, many of which are very large and bright. H II regions usually accompany the enormous clouds of high density molecular hydrogen gas contracting under their own gravitational force where stars form. H II regions are ionized by large numbers of extremely bright and hot young stars; those in M101 are capable of creating hot superbubbles. In a 1990 study, 1,264 H II regions were cataloged in the galaxy. Three are prominent enough to receive New General Catalogue numbers—NGC 5461, NGC 5462, and NGC 5471.
60x300s (5 hours) Skywatcher PDS250 – EQ6R – Asi 533 – in Bortle 6