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8 Most Beautiful Galaxies by Messier Catalog

Jan 27, 2020
The universe is a truly wondrous place to view and then to imagine the time that the light entering your retinas has been traveling. Suddenly you realize that you can only perceive the universe in visible light, about .0035% of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. But I suppose that being able to see a larger percentage of the spectrum might overwhelm us.

A favorite galaxy. Can you have a favorite galaxy?

Besides the Milky Way Galaxy, I have always been drawn to the Whirlpool Galaxy (see Hubble image below), known as Messier 51a, M51a, and NGC 5194, an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus. It lies in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy and it lies about 23 million light-years away from the Earth.

The light entering your eyes from the Whirlpool Galaxy has been traveling for 23 million years through the interstellar medium. Amazing.