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.

June 1, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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M100: A Grand Design
Credit: NASA

Explanation: Majestic on a truly cosmic scale, M100 is appropriately known as a Grand Design spiral galaxy. A large galaxy of over 100 billion or so stars with well defined spiral arms, it is similar to our own Milky Way. One of the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies , M100 (alias NGC 4321) is 56 million light-years distant in the spring constellation of Coma Berenices. This Hubble Space Telescope image of the central region M100 revealing bright stars and intricate winding dust lanes was made in 1993 with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Studies of stars in M100 have recently played an important role in determining the size and age of the Universe.

Tomorrow's picture: Bright Star Knots in NGC4038

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.