July 22 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 July 22

Spiral Galaxy M74: A Sharper View

Image Credit: NASAESACSASTScIProcessing CopyrightRobert Eder

Explanation: Beautiful spiral galaxy Messier 74 (also known as NGC 628) lies some 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces. An island universe of about 100 billion stars with two prominent spiral arms, M74 has long been admired by astronomers as a perfect example of a grand-design spiral galaxy. M74’s central region is brought into a stunning, sharp focus in this recently processed image using publicly available data from the James Webb Space Telescope. The colorized combination of image data sets is from two of Webb’s instruments NIRcam and MIRI, operating at near- and mid-infrared wavelengths. It reveals cooler stars and dusty structures in the grand-design spiral galaxy only hinted at in previous space-based views.