Image of the Day: A Brilliant Island Universe -How Many Twin Earths Exist Here?


NGC 253 Galaxy, one of the brightest spiral galaxies in the known universe, is also one of the dustiest. Some call it the Silver Dollar Galaxy for its appearance in small telescopes, or just the Sculptor Galaxy for its location within the boundaries of the southern constellation Sculptor a mere 10 million light-years away. About 70 thousand light-years across, NGC 253 is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies, the nearest to our own Local Group of Galaxies. In addition to its spiral dust lanes, striking tendrils of dust seem to be rising from a galactic disk laced with young star clusters and star forming regions in this processed color image.  NGC 253 is also known to be a strong source of high-energy x-rays and gamma rays, likely due to massive black hole near the galaxy's center.

Image credit: NASA


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