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News Release Archive:

News Release 749 of 949

April 24, 1996 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-17

Swirling Galaxy Parents Generations of Stars in Its Center

April 24, 1996: The Hubble telescope has snapped a view of several generations of stars in the central region of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), located 23 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs).

The spiral galaxy's massive center, the bright ball of light in the center of the photograph, is about 80 light-years across and has a brightness of about 100 million suns. Astronomers estimate that it is about 400 million years old and has a mass 40 million times larger than our Sun. The concentration of stars is about 5,000 times higher than in our solar neighborhood, the Milky Way Galaxy.

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