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M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy

At a distance of 27 million light years, the Pinwheel Galaxy is a beautiful face on spiral galaxy. While difficult to view in even medium sized telescopes, astrophotography picks up the spiral arms of this large galaxy, reveals the off-center core, and shows dark banding of dust and matter that blocks the billions of stars that hide behind. This galaxy emits the same amount of light as 30 billion of our suns, but the vast distance of the object makes it a relatively obscure galaxy. It is located in the sky in Ursa Major near the handle star of the Big Dipper.

A small galaxy (well, small in the image - a more precise wording would be 'more distant galaxy'), NGC 5477 is found in the upper right corner of the photo.