Astronomy Picture of the Day

Spiral Galaxy M83: The Southern Pinwheel

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Spiral Galaxy M83: The Southern Pinwheel

M83 is one of
the closest and brightest
spiral galaxies on
the sky.

Visible with binoculars in the constellation of
Hydra, majestic spiral arms
have prompted its nickname as the Southern Pinwheel.

Although discovered 250 years ago,
much later
was it appreciated that
M83 was not a nearby gas cloud, but a
spiral galaxy
much like our own
Milky Way Galaxy.

M83, pictured above, is a prominent member
of a group of galaxies that includes
Centaurus A and
NGC 5253, all of which lie about 15 million
light years distant.

Several bright supernova explosions
have been recorded in M83.

An intriguing double
circumnuclear ring
has been discovered
at the center of M83.

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