A Small Central Bar

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Behold: a spectacular view from the Hubble Space Telescope of nearby spiral galaxy M66. Open for business if you don’t mind the journey. To wit:

A spiral galaxy with a small central bar, M66 is a member of the Leo Galaxy Triplet, a group of three galaxies about 30 million light years from us. The Leo Triplet is a popular target for relatively small telescopes, in part because M66 and its galactic companions M65 and NGC 3628 all appear separated by about the angular width of a full moon. The featured image of M66 was taken by Hubble to help investigate the connection between star formation and molecular gas clouds. Clearly visible are bright blue stars, pink ionized hydrogen clouds — sprinkled all along the outer spiral arms, and dark dust lanes in which more star formation could be hiding.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble, Janice Lee; Processing & Copyright: Leo Shatz; Text: Karen Masters)

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