The Whirlpool Galaxy in Visible Light
Ssc2019 11a

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Observation • June 26th, 2019 • ssc2019-11a


This image shows the Whirlpool galaxy, also known as Messier 51 and NGC 5194/5195, which is actually a pair of galaxies. Located approximately 23 million light-years away, it resides in the constellation Canes Venatici. This image presents the galaxy's appearance in visible light, from the Kitt Peak National Observatory 2.1-meter (6.8-foot) telescope and shows light at 0.4 microns (blue) and 0.7 microns (green).

All of the data shown here were released as part of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS) project, captured during Spitzers cryogenic and warm missions.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Space operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at IPAC at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

About the Object

Whirlpool GalaxyMessier 51M51NGC 5194NGC 5195
Galaxy > Type > Spiral
Galaxy > Type > Interacting
Galaxy > Grouping > Pair
23,000,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 440 nm KPNO-2.1m
Infrared 550 nm KPNO-2.1m
Infrared 650 nm KPNO-2.1m
Infrared 656 nm KPNO-2.1m


Position (J2000)
RA =13h 29m 53.0s
Dec = 47° 12' 32.1"
Field of View
10.2 x 15.9 arcminutes
North is 0.4° right of vertical