NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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M81 galaxy. Optical image of the spiral galaxy M81 (NGC 3031) in the constellation Ursa Major. North is at top. This galaxy lies around 12 million light years away, quite close in galactic terms. The structure of the spiral arms is seen well here. The arms appear blue as they largely comprise hot young stars. By contrast, the nucleus appears white/yellow as it contains older stars and dust.
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