14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
This image, taken from a Celestron C-14 telescope, shows the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), noted by NASA as "one of the brightest and most picturesque" ones that Earthlings can see. Because of its shape, this interstellar formation was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral by astronomers. There has been a recent cornucopia of supernovas in the Whirlpool - three in the past seventeen years! The reasons for the supernova surge are yet unknown. Perhaps this air of mystery contributes to the Whirlpool’s reputation as one of "astronomy’s galactic darlings".
© Agni Kumar.
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||Nov. 30, 2016, 9:52 p.m.