Billions and Billions

Over 200 billion. Stars that is. This fuzzy blob of light is the galaxy known as Messier 49 (or M49). It’s a giant elliptical galaxy with 200 billion stars. Spiral galaxies have a well-defined structure with spiral arms, but elliptical galaxies are fairly smooth and lack obvious features. M49 was the first member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies to be discovered, and it is more luminous than any other galaxy at its distance (56 million light-years) or nearer. It is about 157,000 light-years across.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

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