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The Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool galaxy is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici.

The Whirlpool galaxy is also known as Messier 51, or M51. Discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier, this amazing galaxy can been seen through a small telescope and even a times through binoculars.



The Whirlpool or Messier 51 galaxy was one of the first spiral galaxies to be discovered. The galaxy also has another smaller connecting galaxy as a companion called NGC 5195, which was discovered in 1781.   


This Whirlpool galaxy is a bright galaxy compared to other galaxies and is approx. 1/3 the size of the Milky Way galaxy. This galaxy along with other galaxies have been studied for many years, with many images taken by the Hubble telescope, along with the pictured below.



Key Data

Size: Diameter of 60,000 light years.

Star Population: 100 billion.

Distance from Earth: 23 million light years.

Galaxy Type: Spiral.

Constellation: Canes Venatici.


Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. The Whirlpool galaxy was discovered in 1773.

# 2. The Whirlpool galaxy is 400 million years old.

# 3. The Whirlpool galaxy is the brightest galaxy in the M51 group.


Q&A Corner

Q. In what year was the Whirlpool galaxy discovered?

Q. What size is the Whirlpool galaxy?

Q. What type of galaxy is the Whirlpool galaxy?

Q. What constellation is the Whirlpool galaxy in? 

Q. How old is the Whirlpool galaxy?

Download questions about the Whirlpool galaxy here: The Whirlpool galaxy (answer are on this page)

For further reading and more information on the Whirlpool galaxy visit galaxy

Key Vocabulary Galaxy. Constellation. Whirlpool. Spiral. Light Years.