2MASS PROJECT / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY 2MASS PROJECT / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spiral galaxy NGC 253. Infrared composite image of the spiral galaxy NGC 253, also known as the Silver Coin, or Sculptor, galaxy. It lies around 8 million light years from Earth in a group of galaxies called the South Polar, or Sculptor, group. It is a starburst galaxy, one experiencing intense recent star formation. Infrared can peer through the dense dust that obscures millions of stars from sight at visible wavelengths. In particular, the spiral arms are better distinguished and the core is brighter in infrared than in optical images. This image was made as part of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) project, which started in 1997.
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