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Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)
Click for high-resolution animation
Tour of M51
Quicktime MPEG
Hubble's image of M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, shows the majestic spiral arms that are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. The infrared image from Spitzer also reveals stars and the glow from clouds of interstellar dust. The dust consists mainly of a variety of carbon-based organic molecules. An image from the GALEX mission gives the view of M51 in ultraviolet light. Chandra detects a large number of point-like X-ray sources due to black holes and neutron stars in binary star systems. When combined, all of these observatories paint a more complete picture of the famous galaxy.
[Runtime: 0:49]
(Credits: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Wesleyan Univ./R. Kilgard); UV (NASA/JPL-Caltech); Optical (NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith & The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/R. Kennicutt))
Click for high-resolution animation
Animation of Spiral Galaxy
Quicktime MPEG
This animation depicts a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way where hot X-ray-emitting gas emanates from regions of recent star formation in the galaxy's disk.
[Runtime: 0:30]
(Credit: NASA/SAO/CXC/D.Berry)

Return to Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) (December 10, 2007)