REV. RONALD ROYER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY REV. RONALD ROYER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spiral galaxy and supernovae. At left is the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) with its smaller companion galaxy NGC 5195. Shown within M51 are three supernovae labelled with the year of their occurrence; 94 (1994), 05 (2005) and 11 (2011). The magnitudes of two other stars (13.6 and 12.6) are given for comparison. A supernova is the explosive death of a large star. The Whirlpool galaxy is located around 37 million light years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici.
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