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NGC1350
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ESO's Very Large Telescope, located on the 2,600m high Cerro Paranal in the Chilean Andes has captured the spiral galaxy NGC 1350 that lies Eighty-five million light years away.

NGC 1350 is classified as an Sa(r) type galaxy, (a spiral with large central regions) The galaxy lies at the border between the broken-ring spiral type and a grand design spiral with two major outer arms. It is about 130,000 light-years across making it slightly larger than our Milky Way.
The rather faint outer arms originate at the inner main ring and can be traced for almost half a circle when they each meet the opposite arm, giving the impression of completing a second outer ring, the "eye". The arms are given a blue tint as a result of the presence of very young and massive stars.
The amount of dust, seen as small fragmented dust spirals in the central part of the galaxy and producing a fine tapestry that bear resemblance with blood vessels in the eye, is also a signature of the formation of stars.


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This is a colour-composite of the spiral galaxy NGC 1350 taken with FORS2 at the ESO Very Large Telescope. The image, totalling 16 minutes of observations, clearly reveals the delicate structures in this gigantic "eye" as well as many background galaxies.
Credit ESO


The outer parts of the galaxy are so tenuous that many background galaxies can be seen shining through them, providing the observers with an awesome sense of depth. It is indeed quite remarkable to see that with a total exposure time of only 16 minutes, the VLT lets us admire such an incredible collection of island universes wandering about in the sky.

NGC 1350 is located in the rather inconspicuous southern Fornax (The Furnace) constellation. Recessing from us at a speed of 1860 km/s, it is eighty-five million light-years away. It is thus most probably not a member of the Fornax cluster of galaxies, the most notable entity in the constellation, that lies about 65 million light-years away and contains the much more famous barred spiral NGC 1365. On the sky, NGC 1350 stands on the outskirts of the Fornax cluster.

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