M74: The Perfect Spiral
Credit & Copyright : Descubre Foundation , Calar Alto Observatory , OAUV , DSA , V. Peris (OAUV), J. L. Lamadrid (CEFCA ), J. Harvey  (SSRO ), S. Mazlin (SSRO), I. Rodriguez (PTeam ), O. L. (PTeam), J. Conejero (PixInsight ).
Explanation: If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy  is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe  of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces , M74 presents  a gorgeous face-on view . Classified as an Sc  galaxy, the grand design  of M74’s graceful spiral  arms are traced by bright blue star clusters  and dark cosmic dust  lanes. The above image  covers half the width of the full Moon and was obtained using 19 hours of exposure on the 1.23-meter telescope at Calar Alto Observatory  in the Sierra de Los Filabres  mountain range in Spain. Spanning  about 30,000 light-years across the face of M74 , it includes exposures recording emission from hydrogen atoms, highlighting  the reddish glow of the galaxy’s large star-forming regions.
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