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Monday, July 25, 2016

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 1309: Spiral Galaxy and Friends 

A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus).

NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy.

Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core.

Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe.

Still, after you get over this beautiful galaxy's grand design, check out the array of more distant background galaxies also recorded in this sharp, reprocessed, Hubble Space Telescope view.

 See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy ArchiveESANASAProcessing Jeff Signorelli