NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Spiral galaxy M74. Optical image of the spiral galaxy M74 (NGC 628), a face-on spiral galaxy with a small nucleus and well-defined spiral arms. The nucleus appears yellow/white as it is populated mainly by older stars. The spiral arms contain more young blue stars, and some large starbirth regions (bright knots) can be seen. These are huge clouds of gas and dust which glow as their gas is ionised by the hot young stars which formed from them. This galaxy lies around 30 million light years from Earth in the constellation Pisces.
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