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(IAAC) The Whirlpool Galaxy : the @stro object for the week of 04/24/2000



@stro object of the week
drafted by the @stro pages
the week of 04/24/2000
highlighted this week: The Whirlpool Galaxy
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The Whirlpool Galaxy, cataloged as M51 and NGC 5194, was first discovered by
Charles Messier on October 13th, 1773 while he was observing a comet. The
smaller companion galaxy, located to the left of the larger Whirlpool in the
image, was first discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781 and has been cataloged
as NGC 5195.
The Whirlpool is a large spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way galaxy. It was
the first galaxy to be observed and identified to have spiral arms.
Astronomers theorize that M51's spiral arms may actually be the result of
gravitational interaction with its smaller companion galaxy.
The Whirlpool galaxy is one of the brightest galaxies in the night sky and
is easily visible with modest telescopes in dark skies. However, it can be
washed out by light-pollution and may be difficult to observe in urban
skies.
Current information for the Whirlpool Galaxy (Northern Hemisphere):
Rise: 13:06
Transit: 23h 14m
Set: 09:26
Magnitude: ~8.4
Constellation: Canes Venatici
Distance: Estimates vary between 16 to 37 million light-years
For more information visit:
APOD of the Whirlpool Galaxy...
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap970125.html
SEDS webpage on the Whirlpool Galaxy...
http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m051.html
Whirlpool Galaxy nucleus from the HST...
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/96/17.html
The image that accompanied this article...
http://theastropages.com/astroobjects/images/m51.jpg
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Clear skies,
Roger Herzler
the @stro pages
http://theastropages.com
Copyright (c) 2000 the @stro pages
Permission granted to reprint this article
if it is reprinted in its entirety and you
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