Lurking over 30 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pavo, we find NGC 6744; a stunning island universe, with many beautiful features.
Firstly, we have an expansive central disk that just so happens to be aligned right toward our line of sight, allowing us to see this galaxy face-on. From this vantage point, we can make out the numerous cool, older stars that dominate the region. Moving outward from the yellow-tinged core, we can see the sprawling spiral arms, and the much younger and more energetic, blue-white star clusters that permeate them.
Also keenly noticeable are the pinkish star forming regions that have the tell-tell signature of hydrogen emission. At the very bottom, some of the longer tendrils of stellar material intersect with a satellite galaxy — called NGC 6744A —similar in stature to one of the Milky Way's neighboring satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Overall, NGC 6744 spans an impressive 175,000 light-years across, which makes it approximately 75% larger than the Milky Way (it extends a little over 100,000 light-years in diameter). To put it another way, this galaxy occupies an area of sky roughly equivalent to the angular size of the full moon. Moreover, it we could switch places with a planet within this galaxy and peer back at our own, we might find that the two share many characteristics.
See a larger image here.