This Hubble Space Telescope image captures the graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. The galaxy's vast spiral arms are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. This sharpest-ever image of the Whirlpool Galaxy illustrates a spiral galaxy's grand design, from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, which is home to much older stars. This galaxy is nicknamed the Whirlpool because of its swirling structure. It is located about 31 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici.
NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)