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This sweeping spiral galaxy would be among the brightest in the sky were it not for its dust-obscured location. Although it is bright, the galaxy sits near the equator of the Milky Way’s galactic disk, where the sky is thick with glowing cosmic gas, bright stars, and dark, obscuring dust. In order for astronomers to see the intricate spiral structure this galaxy, they must gaze through a large amount of material contained within our own galaxy — no easy feat! The galaxy is very active, as indicated by the range of colors visible in this Hubble Space Telescope image, depicting the very central region of the galaxy. A beautiful mixture of hot, blue star-forming regions, redder, cooler regions of gas, and dark lanes of opaque dust can be seen, all swirling together around a bright core. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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