m51 ngc 5194 spiral galaxy in canes venatici

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting[4] grand-design[5] spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky.[6] The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars.[7] The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understanding of galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.