Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 October 6
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1350
Credit: H. Boffin, H. Heyer, E.Janssen (ESO), FORS2, European Southern Observatory

Explanation: This gorgeous island universe lies about 85 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Fornax. Inhabited by young blue star clusters, the spiral arms of NGC 1350 seem to join in a circle around the galaxy's large, bright nucleus - giving the galaxy the appearance of a limpid cosmic eye. NGC 1350 is about 130,000 light-years across making it as large or slightly larger than our own Milky Way. For earth-based astronomers, NGC 1350 is seen on the outskirts of the Fornax cluster of galaxies, but its estimated distance suggests that it is not itself a cluster member. The sharp image also reveals many background galaxies, some visible right through NGC 1350.

Tomorrow's picture: pixels in Madrid

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