TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy. The Whirpool galaxy (M51, NGC 5194) is attached by a bridge of nebulosity (gas and dust) and stars to the smaller galaxy NGC 5195 (left). These interacting galaxies, which are kept together by their mutual gravitational attraction, lie about 20 million light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. The Whirlpool galaxy is smaller than our own Milky Way, with a diameter of around 65,000 light years and a mass of about 50,000 million solar masses.
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