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2003 May 25
Explanation: NGC 253 is a normal spiral galaxy seen here almost sideways. It is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies, the nearest group to our own Local Group of Galaxies. NGC 253, pictured above, appears visually as one of the brightest spirals on the sky, and is easily visible in southern hemisphere with a good pair of binoculars. The type Sc galaxy is about 10 million light years distant. NGC 253 is considered a starburst galaxy because of high star formation rates and dense dust clouds in its nucleus. The energetic nuclear region is seen to glow in X-ray and gamma-ray light.
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