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The spiral galaxy M83 (NGC 5236), negative image, unsharp mask

Date created: 1989-07-01

Tags: N/A

Negatives are how astronomers are accustomed to viewing their images. It is quick and convenient of course to use the original plate, but a negative also reveals faint features more readily, and that is especially true of images of galaxies such as this. With galaxies at this distance some of the brighter stars are resolved with a ground-based telescope, but they are small and faint and often embedded in bright nebulosity. They are much more easily seen on a negative, as are the faint extensions or distortions that reveal so much about a galaxy's history and environment. Finally, on deep images such as this many faint background galaxies are visible on the negative that would be lost in a positive print.

Image derived from an AAT plate taken in blue light.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory