This classic face-on galaxy with its companion galaxy NGC 5195 are the text-book "deep sky" objects everyone is expects to see in the night-time sky.
On May 30, 1999, however, under a very bright Blue and full moon I tempted fate by going after this galaxy as a novice ccd user while visiting New Mexico Skies in Cloudcroft, NM.
Mike and Lynn Rice, the owners of New Mexico Skies, did all the right things to help me come back with images under very adverse sky conditions: a full moon and scattered clouds. I felt so confident I went after a color ccd image, and while I was forced to abort the green exposure, after 10 minutes, I was still able to produce this color shot of M51:
As I've noted before, the ccd camera can turn a bad night into a productive night. Stay tuned for more ccd developments.