(M51a, NGC 5194)
(easily observed spiral galaxy)
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51a or NGC 5194)
is a spiral galaxy about
23 million light-years distant that is oriented
moderately close to perpendicular to the line of sight,
i.e., so the spiral is fully in view.
It is one of two galaxies that made up
M51 in the Messier Catalog, thus its
It is classified as a grand design spiral galaxy,
i.e., showing a very clear spiral structure
and also possesses an active galactic nucleus.
Its orientation makes it ideal for many
observations aimed at discovering the
architecture of spiral galaxies, such
as the frequency, location, and density
of molecular clouds.
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grand design spiral galaxy
Messier 100 (M100)
Messier 74 (M74)