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NGC 5236, the spiral galaxy M83, wide field

Date created: 1999-10-18

Tags: galaxy, spiral, dust, supernova

M83 is in 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 and shows a concentration of older, yellow stars in its central nucleus with younger, blue stars and patchy red clouds of glowing gas and dark dust lanes in the trailing spiral arms. The massive blue stars occasionally explode as supernovae; at least eight have been seen in Messier 83 in the last 70 years. This new, wide angle view is about half a degree across (about the size of the full moon) and shows the galaxy set in a rich field of foreground stars of the Milky Way — our own galaxy. 

Photograph made from plates taken in May, 1985.
Top left is NE. Image width is about 29 arc min.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory