So I was pleased to notice on the Twitter #bbcstargazing stream a link to a beautiful wide field shot of the galaxy.
And here's the image in its full glory from the Flickr stream:
|M101 Widefield by Mike Hyde on Flickr.|
So why do I like this image so much.... well I was just talking about it with my office mate Chris and he put it well. You can see the galaxy, and you can tell it's a galaxy made of billions of stars and unimaginably immense on human scales, but you can also get a sense of how tiny this galaxy is compared to the Universe, and even how tiny it appears on the sky from Earth. Check out the other galaxies in the image - an edge on disc towards the bottom, and a fuzzy patch at the upper right.