NASA Image of the Day: The Spanish Dancing Spiral Galaxy

The spiral galaxy NGC 1566, also known as the Spanish Dancer, may not be unique, but it is at least one of the most beautiful objects in the sky.

What do we see in today’s NASA image?

The galaxy NGC 1566 contains billions of stars and is located 40 million light-years away in the constellation Dorado. NGC 1566 has two large, magnificent arms marked by azure star clusters and dark dust lanes.

The bright and dazzling center of NGC 1566 makes this spiral one of the closest and brightest of the Seyfert galaxies. There is probably a supermassive black hole at the center of this galaxy, which destroys the surrounding stars and gas.

Countless images of NGC 1566 have been taken by the Hubble Space Telescope to study star formation, supernovae, and the galaxy’s unusual active central region. Some of these images are available online for free in the Hubble Legacy Archive.

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