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.

2011 February 19
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Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841 Close Up
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA) - ESA / Hubble Collaboration

Explanation: A mere 46 million light-years distant, spiral galaxy NGC 2841 can be found in the northern constellation of Ursa Major. This sharp view of the gorgeous island universe shows off a striking yellow nucleus and galactic disk. Dust lanes, small, pink star-forming regions, and young blue star clusters are embedded in the patchy, tightly wound spiral arms. In contrast, many other spirals exhibit grand, sweeping arms with large star-forming regions. NGC 2841 has a diameter of over 150,000 light-years, even larger than our own Milky Way, but this close-up Hubble image spans about 34,000 light-years along the galaxy's inner region. X-ray images suggest that resulting winds and stellar explosions create plumes of hot gas extending into a halo around NGC 2841.

Tomorrow's picture: sky bubbling

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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