Supernovae in the WhirlpoolExpand (160kb, 953 x × 600)Credit R Jay GabanyRemarkably, in the last 6 years two Type II supernovae, representing the death explosions of massive stars, have been detected in nearby spiral M51. Along with a third supernova seen in 1994, that amounts to a supernova bonanza for a single galaxy. As demonstrated in these comparison images, SN2005cs, the supernova discovered in 2005, and more recently SN2011dh, the exceptionally bright supernova first recorded just last month, both lie along M51's grand spiral arms.
National Aeronautics and Space Administrations (NASA) hubble space telescope captured two dramatically different face-on views of the spiral galaxy Messier 51 or M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.Researchers constructed the image by combining visible-light exposures from Jan. 18 to 22, 2005, with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), and pictures taken in December 2005 with the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS).The Whirlpool Galaxy is located at a distance of about 30 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, which is one of the 88 official modern constellations. A constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere.