A Black Eye in a Black Sky

When Charles Messier catalogued 100 different objects in the night sky, he couldn’t have imagined the richness and detail of each one of his individual discoveries, or that we would ever see them in such incredible detail as to understand what they truly are and how they evolve.  But every time I see a new image of a well-known object, I not only see the new and amazing details revealed, I see the next level of technology that enables us to see it in a new light.  This image of Messier number 64 gives me that view.

Messier 64 in a new light. Credit: Michael Miller, Jimmy Walker

Messier 64 is a spiral galaxy in the northern constellation Coma Berenices, about 17 Million light-years from the Milky Way.  The dusty disk surrounding the core obscures many of the newly-formed massive stars and indicate that this galaxy has the potential to form stars at a rapid rate.  Thought to be a long-since-completed merger of two galaxies, M64 is a unique and fascinating object for astrophotographers.

 

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