This dusty island universe is one of the brightest spiral galaxies in
planet Earth's sky.
Seen nearly edge-on, NGC 253 is only
13 million light-years away, the largest member of the
Group of galaxies,
neighbor to our own
close-up view is a five frame mosaic
based on data assembled from Hubble Legacy Archive data.
Beginning on the left near the galaxy's core, the sharp panorama
follows dusty filaments, interstellar gas clouds, and even individual
stars toward the galaxy's edge at the right.
The magnificent vista spans nearly 50,000 light-years.
The frame at the far right has been compressed slightly
to bring into view an intriguing interacting pair of background galaxies.
Designated a starburst galaxy because of its
frantic star forming
activity, NGC 253 features tendrils of dust rising from a
galactic disk laced with young star clusters and star forming regions.
NGC 253 is also known to be a strong
source of high-energy x-rays and
gamma rays, likely due to massive black holes near the galaxy's center.
Hubble Legacy Archive,
Processing and additional imaging -