The bright spiralgalaxy Messier 61 (NGC 4303) in the Virgo cluster, shown from a red-light exposure with a Tektronix 800x800 CCD at the 2.1-meter telescope of Kitt Peak National Observatory. North is at the top and east to the left, for direct comparison with a chart or eyepiece view. The image has been rebinned to 512x512 for this presentation, which uses a logarithmic intensity transformation to preserve information across a wide dynamic range. The field is 2.5 arcminutes square.
This galaxy shows a wealth of features, ranging from the bar with dust lanes emerging from the central bulge to numerous bright associations of young stars farther out in the arms. Only the inner part of the galaxy was included in this image, which was taken as part of a study comparing star formation in galactic nuclei to the same process as it occurs in spiral arms.
Last changes: 5/2001 © 2001