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The unfamiliar constellation Canes Venatici, (the Hunting Dog) is just a few dim stars, beneath the Big Dipper.
M51 is a giant spiral galaxy not too different from our own Milky Way in both size and number of stars. It lies at a distance of about 15 million light years.
The companion galaxy (NGC 5195), although appearing to be connected to M51, is actually farther away as determined by its somewhat greater red shift and radial velocity. Although not obvious in some photos, this one seems to show the spiral arm and dust lane of M51 passing in front of NGC5195.
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