Home to an another active nucleus, NGC 5643 is a picturesque barred spiral galaxy with spiral arms intertwined in such a way to make them difficult to count. It is similar in size to our own Milky Way, and one might surmise that it looks somewhat similar to our home galaxy, if not for the active nucleus. Older, yellowish colored stars gather in the center and along the bar, while younger stars and regions of star formation populate the periphery, giving rise to the variation in colors for the image. Dark streaks of umber trace dust in the galaxy's complicated arms. Even though this image is mostly near-infrared, the colors look similar to a traditional visible light image.
Due to the relative brightness of the core, it was necessary to create a second image of the galaxy detailing the nuclear region. That is available here: flic.kr/p/25mnGPD
Data from the following proposals were used to compose this image:
Note there was a data gap just south of the nucleus where no WFC3 data were available. Some older WF/PC2 data were used to fill that in.
Red: WFC3/IR F160W
Green: WFC3/UVIS F814W
Blue: WFC3/UVIS F555W
North is NOT up. It is 31.91° counter-clockwise from up.