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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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.

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Whirlpool galaxy, also M51, with its companion dwarf galaxy NGC 5194. These two are interacting galaxies in the constellation Canes Venatici.

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"The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. This image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen." Image Credit: NASA/Hubble

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