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M106 photo by Andre van der Hoeven

Stashed in: The Universe, Stars!, Astronomy Pics, Space Images

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It's a mosaic image:

This mosaic was created by astrophotographer André van der Hoeven, using a combination of images from Hubble, the Canadian-French-Hawaii Telescope, the 1-meter telescope of the Tzec Maun Foundation in Cloudcroft, NM, the Subaru telescope, and an RCOS 51-cm telescope. vd Hoeven lists the details on his Flickr page for the image—and you can grab the ridiculously big 4,626 x 4,152 pixel version there, too.

I suggest you do take a look at that biggest version, because wow. The galaxy itself is incredibleI’ve written about it beforetwice, actually. It’s a spiral about 25 million light years away, more or less in our own neighborhood, and about the same size (or somewhat bigger) than our own Milky Way. At its core is a monster black hole 30 million times the mass of our Sun. It’s actively gobbling down matter, and, as it happens, black holes are messy eaters.

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