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.

2007 February 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 a GIF movie featuring the image.

Galaxies Away
Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)
Acknowledgment: J. Blakeslee (Washington State University)

Explanation: This stunning group of galaxies is far, far away - about 450 million light-years from planet Earth - cataloged as galaxy cluster Abell S0740. Dominated by the cluster's large central elliptical galaxy (ESO 325-G004), this sharp Hubble view takes in a remarkable assortment of galaxy shapes and sizes with only a few spiky foreground stars scattered through the field. The giant elliptical galaxy spans over 100,000 light years and contains about 100 billion stars, comparable in size to our own spiral Milky Way. The Hubble data reveal a wealth of detail in even these distant galaxies, including magnificent arms and dust lanes, star clusters, ring structures, and gravitational lensing arcs.

Tomorrow's picture: moon mosaic

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