Celebrate the New Year with the Fireworks Galaxy!
Also known as NGC 6946, the big, beautiful
is located just 10 million light-years away, behind a veil of
foreground dust and stars in the high and far-off
constellation of Cepheus.
From our vantage point in the
Milky Way Galaxy, we see
the galaxy's colors change
from the yellowish light of old stars in the core to young blue star
clusters and reddish star forming regions along the loose, fragmented
NGC 6946 is bright in infrared light
and rich in gas and dust,
exhibiting a furious rate of star formation.
Nearly 40,000 light-years across, the nearby spiral is
fittingly referred to as the
Over the last 100 years, at least nine supernovae, the
of massive stars, were
discovered in NGC 6946.
By comparison, the average rate for supernovae in the Milky Way
is about 1 per century.
Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter,