Typical of the many fantastic images from the Hubble Space Telescope is this portrait of NGC 5643, a nearby spiral galaxy. It's about 55 million light years away – that is nearby in galactic terms.

NGC 5643, in the southern constellation Lupus (the Wolf), is some 100,000 light years across. Blue spiral arms dominate the picture, showing active star formation producing hot young blue stars. But also notice the glowing centre. NGC 5643 is an “active” galaxy with hot gas falling into a massive central black hole.

Spiral galaxy NGC 5643

Mona Evans
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