13 October 1773


The Whirlpool Galaxy is first discovered by Charles Messier.

The Whirlpool Galaxy is a familiar one to stargazers and among the many close galaxy neighbors to our own Milky Way. Because of its shape, it was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral by astronomers. The Whirlpool Galaxy is a spiral galaxy that is relatively close to Earth. It is visible in the northern constellation Canes Venatici, just southeast of the Big Dipper.Among astrophysicists, one of the Whirlpool’s highlights is the abundance of supernovas star explosions that have been recorded there in recent years. It also is noted for its closeness to companion galaxy NGC 5195, which may be affecting the structure of the Whirlpool itself. Today, it interests astronomers due to its spiral structure and the interaction it appears to be having with its near neighbor, M51b.