Blue galaxy

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has provided astronomers with what may be their first direct view of an immense ring of dust which fuels a massive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy M51, located 20 million light-years away. Surprisingly, they found that the ring is standing almost perpendicularly to the relatively flat spiral galaxy, like a top spinning on its side with respect to the floor. Even more surprising is the discovery of a secondary ring or dust lane which is contrary to all expectations.


H. Ford (JHU/STScI), the Faint Object Spectrograph IDT, and NASA/ESA

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:8 June 1992, 15:30
Size:2169 x 2025 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 13277+4727, M 51, Messier 51, NGC 5194, Whirlpool Galaxy
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Center/Core
Distance:25 million light years
Constellation:Canes Venatici

Image Formats

r.titleLarge JPEG
1.1 MB
r.titleScreensize JPEG
132.5 KB


Position (RA):13 29 52.73
Position (Dec):47° 11' 43.40"
Field of view:0.14 x 0.13 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 89.7° right of vertical

Colours & filters

Optical Hubble Space Telescope

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