A Barred Spiral Galaxy

ngc6217_hstIt’s fairly common for spiral galaxies to have bars across their centers. Astronomers believe that our own Milky Way Galaxy has a modest central bar. This picture of the prominently barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was take by the Hubble Space Telescope. Dark filamentary dust lanes, young clusters of bright blue stars, red emission nebulas of glowing hydrogen gas, a long bright bar of stars across the center, and a bright active nucleus that likely houses a supermassive black hole can all be seen. NGC 6217 spans about 30,000 light years across. It’s about 60 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation of the Little Bear (Ursa Minor).

Image Credit: NASA

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