The Whirlpool Galaxy: A Hubble Image Tour

NASA

Containing gas, dust, and hundreds of billions of stars, the Whirlpool Galaxy spans 90,000 light-years of space. Take a tour of this majestic galaxy from the view of the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA
The Whirlpool Galaxy
Lying 30 million light-years away, the Whirlpool is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies in the sky. The graceful, winding arms of this majestic spiral galaxy appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space.
Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

This Hubble image of the Whirlpool illustrates a spiral galaxy's grand design, from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, a home of older stars.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

The Whirlpool and this smaller galaxy are affecting each other gravitationally. The force they exert on each other propels the birth of new stars in the Whirlpool.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Stars are born in the Whirlpool's spiral arms as gravity crushes gas and dust together.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Hot, newborn stars blaze blue. The specks are clusters of hundreds of thousands of stars, not individual stars.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Old, sedate stars live in the galaxy's central bulge. These stars are much cooler than the newborn stars in the arms.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Dark lanes of silicon and carbon dust block visible light.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Clouds of hydrogen gas, heated mainly by nearby stars, give off a red glare.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, 2005-01-18/2005-01-22, From the collection of: NASA

Hubble's observations of galaxies such as the Whirlpool continue to help astronomers better understand the dynamics of these giant objects and how their components, such as ancient star clusters, developed early in the universe's history.

Credits: Story

NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NASA Hubble Space Telescope

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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