M51 shines at mag 8.4 (decently bright) and spans 11 arc-minutes by 7 arc-minutes (rather large as far as galaxies go). The photos show M51 as it was 30 million years ago, which is the time it took for light to reach us.
Thirty million years ago Antarctica was sliding South and getting its ice cap and continents were drifting towards their current position. That period is marked by a notable extinction event called the Grande Coupure; it featured the replacement of European fauna with Asian fauna, except for the endemic rodent and marsupial families. This guy was around:
710mm f/11.8, 20×1′, APS-C, EQ5
200mm f/2.8, APS-C
This is my very first deep-sky photo, shot in 2007 from the city through a window. I used a stock 350D on a EQ 3-2. Exposures were 30 seconds each, ISO 1600.