The Pinwheel Galaxy (higher res version HERE) got its name because it looks like a pinwheel. Geez, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure that one out. Or maybe it's cause it loves Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels so much. Well guess what -- so do I! And Starcrunches? Don't even get me started!!
This new three-color composite image was captured by the Isaac Newton Telescope in La Palma, Spain.
Known more officially as Messier 101 or NGC 5457, this classic spiral galaxy is 27 million light years from Earth in the Ursa Major constellation, also known as the Big Dipper. Its slight asymmetry is thought to be the result of an encounter with another galaxy in the recent (astronomically speaking) past. This event also left many huge clouds of glowing gas and plasma known as H II regions.
Though the galaxy, which measures 170,000 light-years across, is visible with the naked eye as a fuzzy spot, large telescopes are needed to see any detail.
You know what I love most about outerspace? I heard it's super quiet. What do you mean, "space is vacuum"? Those things are loud as shit!