JEAN-CHARLES CUILLANDRE / CANADA-FRANCE- HAWAII TELESCOPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-CHARLES CUILLANDRE / CANADA-FRANCE- HAWAII TELESCOPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Whirlpool galaxy. Optical image of the Whirlpool galaxy (M51, NGC 5194) and its companion NGC 5195 (top). North is at top. These interacting galaxies lie about 20 million light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. Their nuclei contain mainly older, yellower stars, while M51's spiral arms have more hot young blue stars and pink starbirth regions. The galaxies are linked by a thin bridge of gas and dust which NGC 5195 has pulled from the larger galaxy by gravitational attraction. This image was made by the CFH12K CCD camera on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA.
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