Close to the Great Bear
(Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars
(Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was
in 1781 by the
metric French astronomer
Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague
Charles Messier as
Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an
a spiral galaxy around 30 thousand light-years across located
only about 21 million light-years beyond the stars of the Milky Way.
Along with prominent dust lanes and a bright central core,
colorful composite image highlights
youthful blue star clusters and reddish stellar nurseries
that trace the galaxy's spiral arms.
The high resolution galaxy portrait is a mosaic of data from Hubble's
sharp ACS camera combined with groundbased color image data.
M106 (aka NGC 4258) is a nearby example of the
Seyfert class of active galaxies,
the spectrum from radio to X-rays.
Energetic active galaxies are powered by matter falling into a massive