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8 images of galaxies far, far away

By: Katherine Butler on March 11, 2012, 7:13 p.m.
Image of NGC 7331 galaxy

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Our galaxy's twin

The Milky Way is not the only spiral-shaped galaxy in the universe. The NGC 7331 galaxy, located some 50 million light-years away, is in the Pegasus constellation. Discovered by Wilhelm Herschel in 1784, this image of NGC 7331 was captured in infrared by the Spitzer Space Telescope. As NASA writes, “The evolution of this galaxy is a story that depends significantly on the amount and distribution of gas and dust, the locations and rates of star formation, and on how the energy from star formation is recycled by the local environment.” Because of images such as these, experts are able to “read” the galaxy as never before.