Astronomy Picture of the Week – Whirlpool Galaxy

This image of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy, was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. M51 is a typical spiral galaxy which includes graceful, curving arms, pink star-forming regions, and brilliant blue strands of star clusters. It is located at a distance of approximately 31 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky. M51 can easily be observed by amateur astronomers, and may even be seen with binoculars.

M51 Whirlpool GalaxyImage Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)