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Talk about a cosmic Valentine. The Hubble Space Telescope captured a stunning view of the spiral galaxy NGC 3344, showing the birthplace of new stars.
The galaxy is located about 20 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Leo Minor. It's roughly half the size of the Milky Way and is classified as a weakly barred spiral galaxy, according to a statement from Hubble researchers. Two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, are barred, meaning they have a central "bar" of stars across their middle. NGC 3344's bar is visible in the newly released image taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.
Galaxy - NGC - Light-years - Earth - Image
The spiral galaxy NGC 3344 is located about 20 million light-years from Earth. This image of the galaxy is a composite of images taken through seven filters, including ultraviolet, optical and near-infrared radiation.
"This image is a composite of images taken through different filters, ranging from the near ultraviolet, to the optical and the near-infrared," according to the statement. "Together they show a more complete picture of the galaxy than the human eye alone could possibly see."
Areas - Arms - Blue - Image - Stars
Hubble glimpsed areas in the spiral arms (shown as bright blue in the image), where new stars are being formed. The stars pull from reservoirs of dust and gas that are also visible in the image as red patches.
The bright-blue stars on the left of the image are only photobombing NGC 3344, however — they're not a part of the galaxy...
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