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Astronomy Picture of the Day

If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy [1] is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe [2] of about 100 billion stars,

 

[3]

M74: The Perfect Spiral
Credit & Copyright [4]: Descubre Foundation [5]Calar Alto Observatory [6]OAUV [7]DSA [8], V. Peris (OAUV), J. L. Lamadrid (CEFCA [9]), J. Harvey [10] (SSRO [11]), S. Mazlin (SSRO), I. Rodriguez (PTeam [12]), O. L. (PTeam), J. Conejero (PixInsight [12]).

Explanation: If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy [1] is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe [2] of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces [13]M74 presents [14] a gorgeous face-on view [15]. Classified as an Sc [16] galaxy, the grand design [17] of M74’s graceful spiral [18] arms are traced by bright blue star clusters [19] and dark cosmic dust [20] lanes. The above image [21] 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 [6] in the Sierra de Los Filabres [22] mountain range in Spain. Spanning [23] about 30,000 light-years across the face of M74 [24], it includes exposures recording emission from hydrogen [25]atoms, highlighting [26] the reddish glow of the galaxy’s large star-forming regions.

 

Visit the NASA/JPL website to view more Astronomy Pictures of the Day [27]