Astronomy pics - Al Alicea Photography
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The Wirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51 or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way, but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky.

M51