"Grand Design" Spiral Galaxy M81 [1680x1050]
The sharpest image ever taken of the large "grand design" spiral galaxy M81 is being released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
This beautiful galaxy is tilted at an oblique angle on to our line of sight, giving a "birds-eye view" of the spiral structure. The galaxy is similar to our Milky Way, but our favorable view provides a better picture of the typical architecture of spiral galaxies. Though the galaxy is 11.6 million light-years away, NASA Hubble Space Telescope's view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas.