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Galaxy on the Edge

NGC4013
Image: NASA and THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA)

This spectacular image of a galaxy on its edge is the latest to come from the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Christopher Howk of Johns Hopkins University and Blair Savage of the University of Wisconsin at Madison constructed this color composite from images taken through three different filters in January 2000.

The spiral galaxy shown, NGC 4013, lies some 55 million light-years away in the direction of Ursa Major. Seen straight on, it would look like a nearly circular pinwheel. But from our vantange here on Earth¿and Hubble's line of sight in this picture¿NGC 4013 seems like a thin strip of gas and dust. The dark band of interstellar clouds stretching from the upper left corner to the lower right corner measures some 500 light-years wide. It is here that new stars in the galaxy take shape. The particularly bright star in the upper left corner is not, however, part of NGC 4013; it is a foreground star from our own Milky Way.

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