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NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship, which is why the astronomers at the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory, Cocoa, Fla., gave it this nickname.  This barred spiral is receding from Earth at 410 km/s (250 mi/s), and from the Galactic Center at 375 km/s. The reddened light from the center of the galaxy appears yellowish due to the intervening gas and dust located within the outer arms.

In particular, the galaxy gives astronomers a great opportunity to see the delicate dusty lanes of the spiral arms silhouetted against the golden haze of the galaxy’s core. In addition, brilliant clusters of young blue stars shine scattered throughout the disc, mapping the galaxy’s star-forming regions.

Side-on views of galaxies like this one do not prevent astronomers from deducing their structures. Studies of the properties of the light coming from NGC 2683 suggest that this is a barred spiral galaxy, even though the angle we see it at does not let us see this directly.

This image is produced from two adjacent fields observed in visible and infrared light by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. A narrow strip which appears slightly blurred and crosses most the image horizontally is a result of a gap between Hubble’s detectors. This strip has been patched using images from observations of the galaxy made by ground-based telescopes, which show significantly less detail. The field of view is approximately 6.5 by 3.3 arcminutes.

The Daily Galaxy via JPL/NASA

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