The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 83 or NGC 5236) is definitely one of the most majestic galaxies in the local universe. It can be found about 15 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Hydra.
Naturally, Messier 83 is a barred spiral galaxy, with a number of white-hot, massive stars and thousands of ruby red patches of star formation activity. The gas that composes the colorful, sprawling spiral arms is intertwined with thick, black blankets of interstellar dust. They, in turn, form knots that dip right down into the impressive central core.
This particular image, processed by Robert Gendler, and entered into Hubble Legacy Archives, is the best image ever taken of M83's core, highlighting many bright blue star forming areas containing stars between 1 and 10 million years old. The core is a heavier emitter of x-rays, which comes from around 60 supernovae remnants, and the pulsars, neutron stars and black holes left behind afterward.
See a larger image here.
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