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.

2013 January 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
the highest resolution version available.

Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 7424
Image Credit & Copyright: SSRO-South (S. Mazlin, J. Harvey, D. Verschatse, R. Gilbert) & Kevin Ivarsen (UNC/CTIO/PROMPT)

Explanation: The grand, winding arms are almost mesmerizing in this face-on view of NGC 7424, a spiral galaxy with a prominent central bar. About 40 million light-years distant in the headlong constellation Grus, this island universe is also about 100,000 light-years across making it remarkably similar to our own Milky Way. Following along the winding arms, many bright clusters of massive young stars can be found. The star clusters themselves are several hundred light-years in diameter. And while massive stars are born in the arms of NGC 7424, they also die there. Notably, this galaxy was home to a powerful stellar explosion, supernova SN 2001ig, which faded well before the above image was recorded.

Follow APOD on: Facebook (Daily) (Sky) (Spanish) or Google Plus (Daily) (River)
Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.