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Whirlpool Galaxy

Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, NGC 5194


A face-on spiral galaxy


Found in the northern constellation Canes Venatici

Distance from Earth

About 9.6 megaparsecs (31 million light-years)


The galaxy is roughly 30 kiloparsecs (98,000 light-years) in diameter.

Luminous heart of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: Whirlpool Galaxy" is a table that lists the name, description, location, size, and distance of the galaxy from Earth. A picture of the galaxy is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A mapping activity. Locate the galaxy's associated constellation on a star map.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students study this table and other galaxy Fast Fact tables.  Students can order objects based upon their distances from Earth.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Galaxies