CELESTIAL IMAGE CO. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CELESTIAL IMAGE CO. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pinwheel galaxy. True-colour optical image of the spiral Pinwheel galaxy M101 (NGC 5457) in the constellation Ursa Major. This large and bright spiral galaxy lies around 20 million light years away. It is much larger than our own Milky Way; around 200,000 light years in diameter, and having a mass of about 300,000 million solar masses. The Milky Way is about 110,000 light years across, and has a mass 100,000 million times that of the Sun. The bright regions in its arms are huge star birth areas of glowing hydrogen gas, some over 3000 light years across. This image was produced by digitally combining photographs taken by the Palomar Schmidt Telescope in blue and red light.
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