Unusual Characteristics of M51
M51 is a beautiful galaxy, and is very well known for its distinct characteristics and because it is so accessible to be observed even by amateur astronomers. It is an interacting galaxy system, and it is easy to see the effects the interaction has had on the galaxies. The beautiful spiral arms of NGC 5194 are assymteric because of the gravitational effect being exerted by NGC 5195. We can also see many star forming regions within the galaxy. It is widely believed that there is a massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy. There is much to be learned from observing the effects these galaxies have on each other, and much more information to be gather from research studies.
My group chose this interacting galaxy pair because we were greatly interested in seeing the effects of interacting galaxies and M51 has a beautiful display of the effects interacting galaxies have on each other.