Galactic Whirl | Space Wallpaper

Whirlpool Galaxy

About this Image

This stunning space wallpaper shows the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51 or NGC 5194, which is one of the most spectacular examples of a spiral galaxy. With two spiral arms curling into one another in a billowing swirl, this galaxy hosts over a hundred billion stars and is currently merging with its companion, the smaller galaxy NGC 5195.

In this image, observations performed at three different wavelengths with ESA’s Herschel and XMM-Newton space telescopes are combined to reveal how three generations of stars coexist in the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Credit: ESA / Herschel / XMM-Newton. Acknowledgements: "Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium of Very Nearby Galaxies" Key Programme, Christine Wilson

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