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The spiral galaxy M83 (NGC 5236), copied with an unsharp mask

Date created: 1989-07-01

Tags: N/A

M83 is in the winding constellation of Hydra, and is thought to be very like our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, but seen from above one of its poles and at a distance of about 15 million light years. Composed of billions of stars and huge clouds of dust and gas, this object is one of the finest examples of a spiral galaxy. It has a featurless haze of older, yellow stars around its bright nucleus, with younger, and much brighter blue stars and patchy red clouds of glowing gas and dark dust lanes in the trailing spiral arms. All these features are visible in the Related Images, and are present in the Milky Way, but from a different perspective. However, the massive blue stars occasionally explode as supernovae; at least eight have been seen in Messier 83 in the last 70 years, many more than appear in our galaxy.

Image derived from an AAT plate taken in blue light

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory