TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pinwheel Galaxy. Optical image of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101, NGC 5457), a large spiral galaxy approximately 17.5 million light years away and 170,000 light years across. It is located in the constellation Ursa Major and if the sky is dark can be easily seen through binoculars. The nucleus contains old, yellow stars whereas the arms appear bluer as they contain younger stars, and numerous pink starbirth regions are seen within them. As well as being one of the largest spiral galaxies known, the Pinwheel galaxy is significant in that its spirals lie in a plane almost exactly perpendicular to the one in which we view it.
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