A powerful water current moving rapidly in a circular manner, as that produced by the meeting of opposing currents, sucking down anything that comes within. → Whirlpool galaxy.
From whirl "to turn around," from M.E. whirlen, from O.N. hvirfla "to whirl," cognate with O.E. hweorfan "to turn;" + → pool "a body of water."
Whirlpool galaxy (M51)
kahkešân-e Gerdâb (#)
Fr.: galaxie du Tourbillon
A large → spiral galaxy of type Sc seen → face-on in the constellation → Canes Venatici and lying about 31 million → light-years away. Also known as M51 and NGC 5194. It is interacting with a small irregular galaxy NGC 5195.