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This NASA image shows NGC 5194. M51's stretch of over 60,000 light-years dwarf its companion galaxy, NGC 5195. Credit: Hubble Space Telescope, NASA.

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The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51A or NGC 5194) and (M51B or NGC 5195, left). The Whirlpool Galaxy is a grand-design spiral galaxy, interacting with NGC 5195, a dwarg galxy. Both galaxies are located 23 ± 4 million light-years away in Canes Venatici.

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This image by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a face-on view of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Taken in visible light, it highlights the attributes of a typical spiral galaxy, including graceful, curving arms, pink star-forming regions, and brilliant blue strands of star clusters.

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Image of the Day: Black Hole "Mine Field" Lights Up a Spectacular Galaxy- The galaxy is officially named Messier 51 (M51) or NGC 5194, but often goes by its nickname of the "Whirlpool Galaxy." Chandra

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from CNET

A thousand days in the life of the infrared universe (photos)

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A composite image of M51, called the Whirlpool Galaxy, 30 million light years from Earth and 60 thousand light years across. The original images were taken with a telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Hubble Space Telescope. (Photo: NASA via The Telegraph)

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The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust.