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The Galactic Glory of NGC 2280
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Name: NGC 2280
Description: Spiral Galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 6hr 44m 49.40s Dec -27° 38' 21.72"
Constellation: Canis Major
Distance: 75 million light years
Visual magnitude: 10.4
Angular dimensions: 6.3x 3.1 arc-min
Field of view: 5.22 x 5.23 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 1.2° right of vertical
Image Credit: ESO
Release date: December 3, 2009
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This new image of the galaxy NGC 2280 shows the extent of its massive spiral arms that reach far into the surrounding space. These star-filled tentacles taper off into wispy blue clouds of illuminated and glowing gas well away from the central, bright bulge of the galaxy. Found towards the constellation of Canis Major (the Greater Dog), NGC 2280 is thought to be similar in shape to our own Milky Way galaxy.

NGC 2280 whirls in the cosmos about 75 million light-years from us; this snapshot therefore shows the galaxy as it appeared when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. The galaxy was first discovered by John Herschel on February 1, 1837.

The very bright stars that sparkle like diamonds in the image, as well as the many other stars of various colors, are all in the foreground of our view, as they lie much closer to us than NGC 2280.

The image was captured with the ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (EFOSC2) through three filters (B, V, R). EFOSC2 was attached to the 3.6-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. EFOSC2 has a field of view of 4.1 x 4.1 arcminutes