Island Universes
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Island Universes

M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy owes its name to the iconic shape of its two large spiral arms, which branch off from the center and unwind in opposite directions, similar to the figure created by a fluid caught in a vortex

Credit: NASA, Hubble Heritage Team, (STScI/AURA), ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), Robert Gendler — The Whirlpool Galaxy is a perfect example of a spiral galaxy. It has been interacting for millions of years with the irregular galaxy NGC 5195, visible in the top-left corner, partially hidden by one of the spiral arms. Astronomers obtained this magnificent composite image by combining observations in the visible and near-infrared, made with the Hubble ACS instrument




A collection of the best galaxy images produced by the largest ground and space observatories, with brief informative notes on the observed galaxies

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Michele Diodati

Michele Diodati

Science writer with a lifelong passion for astronomy and comparisons between different scales of magnitude.

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