M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy

Find the Big Dipper and follow the handle away from the dipper’s bowl until you get to the last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you’ll come upon this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier’s famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (top), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one reveal its striking colors and galactic tidal debris. via NASA https://ift.tt/2WIDtyX

Wikipedia article of the day for September 2, 2021

Wikipedia article of the day is Indian roller. Check it out: Article-Link Summary: The Indian roller is a bird of the family Coraciidae. It is 30โ€“34ย cm (12โ€“13ย in) long with a wingspan of 65โ€“74ย cm (26โ€“29ย in) and weighs 166โ€“176ย g (5.9โ€“6.2ย oz). The face and throat are pinkish, the head and back are brown, and the rump is blue. The brightly contrasting light and dark blue markings on the wings and tail are prominent in flight. The sexes appear similar. It occurs widely from West Asia to the Indian subcontinent. Often found perched on roadside trees and wires, it is common in open grassland and scrub forest habitats, and has adapted well to human-modified landscapes. It mainly feeds on insects, especially beetles. The species is best known for the aerobatic displays of males during the breeding season. Adult males and females form pair bonds, raising the young together. The female lays three to five eggs in a cavity or crevice, lined with a mat of straw or feathers. It is the state bird of three Indian states.