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.

2023 June 23
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Giant Galaxies in Pavo
Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Selby, Observatorio El Sauce

Explanation: Over 500,000 light years across, NGC 6872 (top right) is a truly enormous barred spiral galaxy, at least 5 times the size of our own very large Milky Way. The appearance of this giant galaxy's distorted and stretched out spiral arms suggests the magnificent wings of a giant bird. Of course its popular moniker is the Condor galaxy. It lies about 200 million light-years distant toward the southern constellation Pavo, the Peacock. Lined with star-forming regions, the distorted spiral arms are due to NGC 6872's gravitational interaction with the nearby smaller galaxy IC 4970, seen just above the giant galaxy's core. The Pavo galaxy group's dominant giant elliptical galaxy, NGC 6876 is below and left of the soaring Condor galaxy.

Tomorrow's picture: fifty first flights

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