Here is your weekly reminder of Psalm 19 — galaxy M74.
Galaxy M74 is a perfect example of what’s called a grand design spiral galaxy, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. M74 appears face-on from our position on Earth, allowing us to see its symmetrical arms spiral gracefully out of its center. Note the blue clusters of star formation and glowing pink pockets of excited hydrogen gas. The dark swirls are dust lanes that obscure starlight, much the way dust in the Earth’s atmosphere blocks sunlight. M74 (the 74th object in the Messier catalog) is about 32 million light-years from Earth and appears in the constellation Pisces.
Image of M74 credit:NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.