The iconic appearance of a spiral galaxy is exemplified here in the form of the stunning NGC 2903, imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It shows off whirling, pinwheeling arms with scatterings of sparkling stars, glowing bursts of gas, and dark, weaving lanes of cosmic dust.
NGC 2903 is located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion), and was studied as part of a Hubble survey of the central regions of roughly 145 nearby disc 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 centre — such as that seen in this image.
This image was first published on 29 April 2019.