Around the nucleus of M83 (NGC 5236)
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Around the nucleus of M83
Top left is NE. Image width is about 7 arc min
Image and text © 1999-2002, Australian Astronomical Observatory, Photograph by S. Lee, C. Tinney and D. Malin.


Messier 83 is a giant spiral galaxy on the borders of Hydra and Centaurus in the southern sky. By chance we see it almost face-on and it is close enough (about 20 million light years distant) that some of its brightest stars are resolved. As in all spirals, the brightest stars are the youngest and for most of their short lives such stars are also very hot, so they appear blue on this true-color photograph, They mark the convex edges of the spiral arms of M83 and are not to be confused with the random scattering of relatively nearby Milky Way stars across the picture.

The spiral arms of M83 seem to begin as dust lanes, seen as dark against a faint yellow haze around the bright nucleus. The yellow haze is the 'bulge' of M83, the population of old, faint, yellow stars that is most numerous towards the nucleus. It is from the bright nuclear region that the curved dust lanes seem to emerge. They can be traced out into the spiral arms proper, where they become denser and fragmented, perhaps because of star formation, which turns dark dust into pink nebulae, or clouds of glowing gas.

Entry from NGC 2000.0 (R.W. Sinnott, Ed.) © Sky Publishing Corporation, 1988:
NGC 5236  Gx 13 37.0  -29 52 s  Hya  11.27.6  !! vB, vL, E 55deg , esbMN, 3-br spir; = M83

Related Images
AAT 8.  The spiral galaxy, Messier 83, (NGC 5236)
AAT 8a. The spiral galaxy, Messier 83, (NGC 5236, wide field)
n5236_d    NGC 5236, Messier 83

More data about this galaxy is accessible from the hotlinked NGC name and is reproduced
with permission from the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED).

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