Behold: spiral galaxy NGC 1350 – a beautiful island universe 85 million light years away in the constellation of Formax. To wit:

Inhabited by young blue star clusters, the tightly wound spiral arms of NGC 1350 seem to join in a circle around the galaxy’s large, bright nucleus, giving it the appearance of a cosmic eye. In fact, NGC 1350 is about 130,000 light-years across. That makes it as large or slightly larger than the Milky Way. For earth-based astronomers, NGC 1350 is seen on the outskirts of the Fornax cluster of galaxies, but its estimated distance suggests that it is not itself a cluster member. Of course, the bright spiky stars in the foreground of this telescopic field of view are members of our own spiral Milky Way galaxy.

(Image: Mike Selby, Warren Keller)

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