• Whirlpool Galaxy print

Whirlpool Galaxy

From: £225.00

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One of the best-known objects in the sky, the Whirlpool Galaxy’s appearance resembles a graceful grand spiral staircase sweeping through space; these spirals are actually long lanes of stars and gas, laced with dust.

Relatively close to Earth at approximately 25 million lightyears away, it is about the same size as the Milky Way and 100,000 lightyears across. Its two curving arms serve an important purpose, as they contain ‘star formation factories’, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars.

Hydrogen gas is, generally speaking, the most common constituent of interstellar space, and when huge sources of gravitational forces pass close, such as other galaxies, gravitational exchanges produce shockwaves that pass through through these hydrogen clouds resulting in the gas compressing into tight pockets of opaque and dense protostellar clouds.

When the density of these clouds reaches a critical value, an additional collapse occurs under its own gravitational pull and stars are born; a molten state happens, causing these newborn stars to consume huge amounts of hydrogen, resulting in them expanding and burning even hotter.

Notice the pinkish knots? These are star-forming regions, and are ‘stellar nurseries’ that are responsible for creating stars that will shine on long after the relatively short-lived blue stars that inhabit the arms have consumed the last of their fuel.

When you look at this stunning image, you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some alien intelligence looking at our own galaxy, and marvelling at its structure, at the same time trying to understand the quirks and mysteries of their own.

Pigment inks on 271gsm satin paper, professionally hand-bonded onto a 5mm cast acrylic panel. Currently available in two sizes:

  • 36″ (w) × 25.0″ (h)
  • 24″ (w) × 16.7″ (h)

Each acrylic print comes ready to hang.

FREE delivery.

Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)