Whirlpool Galaxy from Spitzer
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Whirlpool Galaxy from Spitzer

November 9, 2004
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured these infrared images of the "Whirlpool Galaxy," revealing strange structures bridging the gaps between the dust-rich spiral arms, and tracing the dust, gas and stellar populations in both the bright spiral galaxy and its companion. The targeted galaxy is known by various names: M51 from its Messier catalog designation, and also as NGC 5194. M51 was one of the original discoveries of Charles Messier, found in October 1773 while he was observing a faint comet. The Messier catalogue of galaxies is named after him. Colloquially, M51 is also known as the "Whirlpool Galaxy", or "Rosse's Galaxy," after Lord Rosse, who first detected galaxy spiral structure in his observations of M51. The companion, NGC 5195, was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Mechain.

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