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Astronomy Picture of the Day

Similar in size and grand design to our home Galaxy (although without the central bar), spiral galaxy NGC 3370 lies about 100 million light-years away toward the constellation of the Lion (Leo). 
[1]
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3370 from Hubble 
Image Credit: NASA [2]ESA [3]Hubble Heritage [4] (STScI [5]/AURA [6]); Acknowledgement: A. Reiss [7] et al. [8] (JHU [9])

Explanation: Is this what our own Milky Way Galaxy looks like from far away? Similar in size and grand design to our home Galaxy [10] (although without the central bar), spiral galaxy NGC 3370 [11] lies about 100 million light-years [12] away toward the constellation of the Lion (Leo [13]). Recorded above [14] in exquisite detail by the Hubble Space Telescope [15]‘s Advanced Camera for Surveys [16], the big, beautiful face-on spiral is not only photogenic, but has proven sharp [17] enough to study individual stars known as Cepheids [18]. These pulsating stars [19] have been used to accurately determine NGC 3370’s distance.NGC 3370 [20] was chosen for this study because in 1994 the spiral galaxy [21] was also home to a well studied stellar explosion — a Type Ia supernova [22]. Combining the known distance to this standard candle [23]supernova, based on the Cepheid measurements, with observations of supernovas [24] at even greater distances, has helped to reveal the size and expansion rate [25] of the entire Universe itself.