The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy that is estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

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