25 million light-years

The Whale Galaxy is a large beautiful spiral galaxy seen edge-on. It is situated within the small northern constellation Canes Venatici (the hunting dogs). This galaxy's distorted shape suggests a huge cosmic whale, explaining its strange name. The galaxy is accentuated by dark dust lanes. The image also shows young bright blue star clusters and red star-forming regions glowing in hydrogen gas.

Credit: Johannes Schedler.