Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
This incredible image of barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was the first image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope after the completion of STS-125 Atlantis’s Hubble Servicing Mission 4 (HSM4). This galaxy at 44,000 light years in diameter is less than half the diameter of the Milky Way and resides 60 million years into the past in the constellation Ursa Minor.
This city is very much alive with star formation as can be seen in the pink regions, where newborn stars are coming to life all throughout the two major arms. Those arms are also alive with young bright blue stars creating an amazing color contrast. At the nucleus the telltale sign of yellow ancient stars glows, showing traces of gas and dust lanes.
Name: NGC 6217.
What is it?: Barred Spiral Galaxy.
How big is it?: 44,000 light years in diameter.
How far away is it?: 60 million light years.
Apparent magnitude: 11.2.
Where is it (general)?: Constellation Ursa Minor and the asterism of the Little Dipper.
Where is it (exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 16h 32m 39s.2 / DEC +78° 11′ 53″.
NASA Hubblesite News Center page for this image: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2009/25/image/bc/