NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Optical photograph of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101, NGC 5457), a large, bright spiral galaxy some 20 million light years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. M101 has a mass of three thousand million Suns and a diameter of approximately 200,000 light years, around twice that of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Its extremely narrow, far- flung spiral arms are dominated by huge clouds of glowing hydrogen, some of which are 3000 light years across.
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