31 million light-years

A superb face-on spiral galaxy, The Whirlpool is a popular target for amateur astronomers. This image shows what the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope saw when it observed this classic spiral. Special filters highlight the red glow of enormous hydrogen gas clouds, and this view shows how The Whirlpool is interacting with its much smaller neighbour, the yellow-coloured NGC 5195.

Credit: S. Beckwith for the NASA / ESA Hubble Heritage Team.

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