Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 12, 1996

Leo Triplet Spiral Galaxy M65
Credit: Anglo-Australian Telescope photograph by David Malin
Copyright: Anglo-Australian Telescope Board

Explanation: Spiral galaxy M65 is a normal spiral galaxy not unlike our own Milky Way. In fact, M65 is a typical spiral galaxy of a type that could be found anywhere in the local universe. Given a morphological type of "Sa", M65 shows tightly wrapped spiral arms and a large nuclear central bulge. The central bulge stars are older and redder than disk stars, which appear more blue. Stars in the bulge of the our own Milky Way Galaxy are also typically older and redder than stars in the disk where our Sun resides. M65 is a member of the Leo Triplet of galaxies, along with its neighbors M66 and NGC 3628. Although it appears that M65's gravity has distorted M66's symmetry, M65's symmetry seems unaffected by M66. M65 is located roughly 35 million light years away, so that light recorded today left after the fall of the dinosaurs but when many land mammals were just evolving on Earth.

Tomorrow's picture: Europa's Surface

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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