DR JEAN LORRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEAN LORRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer-processed optical image of the spiral galaxy M83 (NGC 5236), which lies about 27 million light years from the Earth in the constellation of Hydra. The image has been processed to enhance the different types of stellar populations present in the galaxy. The red region around the centre of M83 is composed of old stars while the spiral arms are characterised by blue knots. These are the so called HII regions in which recently born hot stars are able to ionise surrounding clouds of hydrogen. The dark brown regions correspond to clouds of interstellar dust which absorb and scatter the light emitted by the stars.
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