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NGC 253: Dusty Island Universe

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NGC 253: Dusty Island Universe


NGC 253
, sometimes called the Silver Dollar
Galaxy, is one of the brightest spiral galaxies visible -
and also one of the dustiest.

First swept up in 1783 by mathematician
and astronomer Caroline Herschel,
the dusty island universe lies a mere 10 million light-years
away in the southern constellation Sculptor.

About 70 thousand light-years across, NGC 253 is the largest
member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies, the nearest to our
own Local Group of Galaxies.

In addition to its spiral dust lanes, striking tendrils of
dust seem to be rising
from the galactic disk in
gorgeous view

The high dust content accompanies frantic
star formation,
NGC 253 the designation of a starburst galaxy.

NGC 253 is also known
to be a strong source of high-energy
x-rays and gamma rays, likely due to massive black holes near
the galaxy's center.

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