Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344

Image credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Located 22.5 million light years away in the constellation of Leo Minor is this beautiful barred spiral galaxy cataloged as NGC 3344. Hubble has done a terrific job as usual, capturing the fine details in this beautiful structure. As we view this galaxy face-on we can tease out many of its various qualities such as the relatively small bar in its nucleus. Within its long, thin spiral arms are the telltale signs of young, hot blue stars as well as the pink/red star forming regions where stellar birth is still taking place. Laced within it all we find the dark bands of interstellar gas and dust that can be used as fuel to create future stars. Looking almost like supernovae are two bright stars on the left hand side of the image. These are actually stars within our own Milky Way as we are immersed within our home star city we must peer through billions and billions of stars in order to observe what lies beyond.

Name: NGC 3344

What is it?: Weakly barred spiral galaxy

How big is it?: Roughly 50,000 light years in diameter or about half the size of the Milky Way

How far away is it?: 22.5 million light years

Apparent magnitude: 10.5

Where is it (general)?: Constellation Leo Minor

Where is it (exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 10h 43m 31.150s / DEC +24° 55′ 19.99″

ESA Hubble page for this image:

ESA Hubble page and description for this image:

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