<i>101 Must-See Cosmic Objects</i>: M101

While the name Pinwheel Galaxy can refer to M33 in Triangulum and other open spirals, it is the most common moniker for M101 (NGC 5457) in Ursa Major. Located near Alkaid (Eta [η] Ursae Majoris) at the end of the Big Dipper’s handle, M101 can be a wonder or a disappointment, depending on observing conditions. Under ideal dark skies, you can spot M101 in large binoculars, where it forms the apex of an equilateral triangle with Alkaid and Mizar (Zeta [ζ] Ursae Majoris). The core is

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