This is the barred-spiral galaxy NGC 6217, and it can be found about 60-million light-years from our celestial home, in the constellation Ursa Minor.


This particular image is special because it was the first image taken with Hubble’s then-newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). This was Hubble’s fifth and final servicing mission and was performed in May of 2009 by the crew of the Atlantis. As a side note, there was an IMAX movie created around this servicing mission called Hubble 3D (if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you find it). NGC 6217 was used for calibration and testing of the new ACS device.


The galaxy itself displays a prominent bar and a stunning dust lane painted by dark filaments. You can see dozens of star-forming nebula, as well as the blue glow of hot, young star clusters. NGC 6217 spans about 30,000 light years, making it less than a third of the size of the Milky way.

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