Behold the Blazing Splendour of the Sunflower Galaxy

By Kiona Smith-Strickland on at

Astronomers call Messier 63 the Sunflower Galaxy, because they say its spiral shape resembles the spiral of seeds at the centre of a sunflower.

Behold the Blazing Splendor of the Sunflower Galaxy

Well, sort of.

In this image from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Sunflower Galaxy also resembles the swirling arms of a hurricane, but on a galactic scale.

Behold the Blazing Splendor of the Sunflower Galaxy

Each of those points of light in the galaxy’s spiral arms is a star or cluster of stars, newly formed and blazing blue-white. The Sunflower Galaxy is 27 million light years away in the M51 Group, a group of galaxies dominated by Messier 51, the Whirlpool Galaxy.

[NASA Image of the Day]

Image credits: Clay Junell via Wikimedia Commons, NASA via Wikimedia Commons