M101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)

  • Released Monday, June 18, 2018

M101 is a comparable in size to the Milky Way. The disk is 100 billion solar masses, and the central bulge of about 3 billion solar masses. M101 is rich is pinkish star forming regions, many of which are very large and bright. Unlike most spiral galaxies, M101's spiral shape is notably asymmetrical. This is due to the tidal forces from interactions with its companion galaxies. These gravitational interactions compress interstellar hydrogen gas, which then triggers strong star formation activity in M101's spiral arms.


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Video: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana), and STScI

Release date

This page was originally published on Monday, June 18, 2018.
This page was last updated on Monday, July 15, 2024 at 12:22 AM EDT.


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