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Pinwheel Galaxy

Pinwheel Galaxy

R862/0015

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Credit

NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Pinwheel Galaxy (M101, NGC 5457). This is one of the largest spiral galaxies known, at over 170,000 light years across. It is unusual in that its core (nucleus) is not positioned centrally within the disc, instead being near the bottom in this view. The nucleus contains mainly stars that are older and yellower than the arms. The arms appear bluer as they contain younger stars, and numerous bright starbirth regions. The Pinwheel Galaxy lies around 27 million light years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Imaged by the CCD Mosaic device on the KPNO 0.9-metre telescope, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA.

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