Description: In the constellation Hydra can be found a spectacular face-on spiral galaxy. This is M83, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. It earned its name from the distinct pinwheel shape of its long spiral arms. Color images of this galaxy reveal a wide range of colors from the yellow central core of old stars to the blue spiral arms of young stars. Several red knots can also be seen These are gaseous nebulae where active star formation is taking place. Dark lanes of dust are also visible throughout the galaxy's disk. M83 is situated about 15 million light years from Earth. It is receding from us at around 337 km/sec. This galaxy has been the site of six supernovae, which is more than any other Messier galaxy. It was also the first galaxy to be discovered beyond the Local Group.
Credit: Chris Benn (ING) and Nik Szymanek (University of Hertfordshire).
Date: 18 February 2004.
Telescope: 4.2-m William Herschel Telescopes.
Instrument: Prime Focus Camera (PFIP).
Filters and exposure times: 300s exposures in Johnson B, V and R filters.
Available formats: JPEG (234 K) | TIFF (4.1 M) | PDF (with text)