ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sunflower galaxy (M63), optical image. The Sunflower galaxy lies around 35 million years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. It gets its name from its spiral arms, thought to resemble a sunflower. Within these arms can be seen red regions of star birth, where radiation from young stars ionises hydrogen gas and causes it to glow, and blue areas, where clouds of dust reflect the light of nearby stars. Dark dust clouds are also silhouetted against the bright regions behind. At around 60,000 light years in diameter, the Sunflower galaxy is just over half the size of our own, the Milky Way.
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