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 July 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

NGC 4449: Close-Up of a Small Galaxy
Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Aloisi (STScI / ESA), Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Explanation: Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory. Their newly formed, bright, blue star clusters along beautiful, symmetric spiral arms are guaranteed to attract attention. But small irregular galaxies form stars too, like NGC 4449, located about 12 million light-years away. In fact, this sharp Hubble Space Telescope close-up of the well-studied galaxy clearly demonstrates that reddish star forming regions and young blue star clusters are widespread. Less than 20,000 light-years across, the small island universe is similar in size, and often compared to our Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. NGC 4449 is a member of a group of galaxies found in the constellation Canes Venatici.

Tomorrow's picture: cloudy skies

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