Image Credit: Fred Calvert, Adam Block, KPNO, AURA, NSF (via Cold Springs Observatory)

This pretty galaxy could easily be confused with the Triangulum galaxy, but the two, in fact, are not related. Instead, this is NGC 2403: a remarkable spiral galaxy seen face-on from our vantage point. It can be found approximately 8 to 12 million light-years from Earth in the Camelopardalis constellation.

Like Triangulum, NGC 2403 has spans around 50,000 light-years across — making both just half the size of the Milky Way — and uncountable number of pinkish H II regions. In fact, i can't think of a single galaxy lit up by more of them than this one, which is most likely the product of a galaxy merger of some kind.

Up-Close and personal look at NGC 2403 (Image Credit: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Robert Gendler)

Also seen in this stunning image, near the 9 o'clock position (beneath the galaxy's central core), is a supernova that happens to be one of the brightest in recent memory, called SN2004dj. Other members of the Messier 81 (M81) galaxy group, which contains over 34 galaxies, linger nearby — namely NGC 2404. It's so close, the two are literally connected by the arm.

See a larger image here.


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