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.
2021 January 28
Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy Messier 66 lies a mere 35 million light-years away. The gorgeous island universe is about 100 thousand light-years across, similar in size to the Milky Way. This reprocessed Hubble Space Telescope close-up view spans a region about 30,000 light-years wide around the galactic core. It shows the galaxy's disk dramatically inclined to our line-of-sight. Surrounding its bright core, the likely home of a supermassive black hole, obscuring dust lanes and young, blue star clusters sweep along spiral arms dotted with the tell-tale glow of pinksh star forming regions. Messier 66, also known as NGC 3627, is the brightest of the three galaxies in the gravitationaly interacting Leo Triplet.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.