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.

2010 March 4
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NGC 4565: Galaxy on Edge
Image Credit & Copyright: Acquisition - Torsten Grossmann, Processing - Dietmar Hager

Explanation: Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is viewed edge-on from planet Earth. Also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile, bright NGC 4565 is a stop on many telescopic tours of the northern sky, in the faint but well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. This sharp, colorful image reveals the galaxy's bulging central core cut by obscuring dust lanes that lace NGC 4565's thin galactic plane. An assortment of other galaxies is included in the pretty field of view. Neighboring galaxy NGC 4562 is at the upper right. NGC 4565 itself lies about 40 million light-years distant, spanning some 100,000 light-years. Easily spotted with small telescopes, sky enthusiasts consider NGC 4565 to be a prominent celestial masterpiece Messier missed.

Tomorrow's picture: skyscape

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