This beautiful, bright, spiral galaxy is
often called the Black Eye Galaxy or the
Sleeping Beauty Galaxy
for its heavy-lidded appearance in telescopic views.
M64 is about 17 million light-years distant in the
otherwise well-groomed northern constellation
In fact, the Red Eye Galaxy might also be an appropriate moniker
in this colorful composition of narrow and wideband images.
The enormous dust clouds obscuring the near-side of
region are laced with the
telltale reddish glow of hydrogen associated with star forming
But they are not this galaxy's only peculiar feature.
Observations show that M64 is actually
composed of two concentric,
counter-rotating systems of stars, one in the inner 3,000 light-years
and another extending to about 40,000 light-years and rotating in
the opposite direction.
The dusty eye and bizarre rotation is likely the result of a
billion year old
of two different galaxies.