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The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy
Description: Barred Spiral Galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 3h 33m 36.35s Dec -36° 8' 29.21"
Distance: 60 million light years
Field of view: 23.40 x 17.62 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 106.7° left of vertical
Image Credit: ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5 m/ R. Gendler, J-E. Ovaldsen, C. Thöne & C. Feron.
Release Date: September 13, 2010
1999 image: G9920 2010 Image: G1037 2010 Infrared: G1038
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
Spiralling around, 61 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax (the Furnace), NGC 1365 is enormous. At 200,000 light-years across, it is one of the largest galaxies known to astronomers. This, plus the sharply defined bar of old stars across its structure is why it is also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy. Astronomers think that the Milky Way may look very similar to this galaxy, but at half the size. The bright center of the galaxy is thought to be due to huge amounts of superhot gas ejected from the ring of material circling a central black hole. Young luminous hot stars, born out of the interstellar clouds, give the arms a prominent appearance and a blue color. The bar and spiral pattern rotates, with one full turn taking about 350 million years.
image combines observations performed through three different filters
(B, V, R) with the 1.5-metre Danish telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory