Next time you glance up at the constellation Leo draped across the night sky, think about how there's so much more going on there than the few twinkly stars we can see with the naked eye.
NASA and the European Space Agency shared a Hubble Space Telescope image this week of galaxy NGC 2903. It's a poster child of a spiral galaxy that's located in Leo the lion. Look at its graceful curving arms and glowing center. It's the Idris Elba of galaxies. I would pay good money to see NGC 2903: The Movie.
ESA is also in love with spiral galaxies, waxing poetic on their features: "These limelight-hogging celestial objects combine whirling, pinwheeling arms with scatterings of sparkling stars, glowing bursts of gas, and dark, weaving lanes of cosmic dust, creating truly awesome scenes."
NGC 2903 is located a brisk 30 million light-years away. Hubble captured the glamor shot while imaging around 145 nearby disk galaxies. "This study aimed to help astronomers better understand the relationship between the black holes that lurk at the cores of galaxies like these, and the rugby-ball-shaped bulge of stars, gas and dust at the galaxy's center," ESA said.
This close-up view of a spiral galaxy offers a nice counterpoint to another Hubble image released this week: the Hubble Legacy Field, a view of the distant universe that encompasses around 265,000 galaxies. They may look very different, but they both have the power to stir the human soul.