NASA / CXC / WESLEYAN UNIV. / R.KILGARD, ET AL / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / CXC / WESLEYAN UNIV. / R.KILGARD, ET AL / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy. Composite space telescope image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51, or M51), which lies around 30 million light years from Earth. This spiral galaxy has spectacular arms of stars and dust. This image covers nearly a million seconds of observing time and reveals hundreds of X-ray points of light, most of which are X-ray binary (XRB) stars, where a compact star, either a neutron star or more rarely a black hole, is capturing material from an orbiting companion star. Image composed of data obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) and the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green and blue).
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