Spiral galaxy M83 is located in the constellation Hydra. A “starburst” galaxy, M83 is considerably smaller than our own galaxy but is producing stars at a much faster rate. The pink clouds of hydrogen gas that dot the galaxy’s spiral arms are the nurseries where new stars are being born. The blue, grainy clumps mixed in with these star-forming regions are clusters of hot, young stars that have blown away the surrounding gas with their fierce ultraviolet radiation. Some of these young stars are only about a million years old. The yellow glow closer to the center of the galaxy comes from these more mature stars that have lived for 100 million years or more.

Spiral galaxies come in a range of types depending on their appearance and structure — for example, how tightly wound their arms are, and the characteristics of the central bulge. Messier 83 has a “bar” of stars slicing through its center, leading to its classification as a barred spiral. The Milky Way also belongs to this category. These bars are thought to act a bit like a funnel, channeling gas inwards towards the galaxy’s center. This gas is then used to form new stars and also to feed the galaxy’s central black hole, explaining why many barred spirals — including Messier 83 — have very active and luminous central regions.

This object is low on horizon and therefore capturing this was not easy. I took this image for 13 hours (26 images of 20 minutes each for Luminance and 9 images of 10 minutes each for 3 colors, R, G, B).

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