Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Glowing gas and starlight with dark bands of interstellar dust create a cosmic letter Z in this image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 1300 is considered the typical barred spiral galaxy.

Explore the image of NGC 1300. In a barred spiral, the galaxy arms connect to the ends of a bar of stars that contains the galactic nucleus. Some astronomers believe that the Milky Way Galaxy may be a barred spiral. Check out the newest and hottest stars in the sweeping spiral arms. Dense dust lanes trace out structures within the spiral arms and bar. The bright blue areas at the outside of these spiral arms are actually giant star clusters. In the central bar, older cooler stars reside. Zoom in to the galaxy’s core. The nucleus of NGC 1300 shows what astronomers call a “grand-design” spiral structure. Astronomers see this structure in the largest barred spiral galaxies. Flit from your choice of hundreds of background galaxies. These far-off galaxies are visible even through the densest part of the spiral arms.

NGC 1300 is located about 69 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Eridanus. The meandering constellation Eridanus represents the Po River in ancient mythology and is the source of waters flowing from Aquarius, the water bearer.