Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: Facing NGC 6946

Title: 
Facing NGC 6946
Explanation: 
From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy [ http://www.anzwers.org/free/universe/galaxy.html ], we see NGC 6946 [ http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/n6946.html ] face-on. The big beautiful spiral galaxy [ http://www.seds.org/messier/spir.html ] is located just 10 million light-years away, behind a veil of foreground stars in the high and far-off constellation of Cepheus [ http://www.astropix.com/HTML/E_SUM_N/ CEPHEUSO.HTM ]. Looking from the bright core outward along the loose, fragmented spiral arms, the galaxy's colors show a striking change from the yellowish light of old stars in the galaxy's center to young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions. NGC 6946 is also bright in infrared light [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990322.html ] and rich in gas and dust, exhibiting a high star birth and death rate. In fact, during the 20th century, at least six supernovae, the death explosions [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990515.html ] of massive stars, were discovered in NGC 6946 [ http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n6946.html ]. In this sharp composite [ http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/6946LRGB.html ] color digital image, a small barred structure [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990624.html ] is just visible at the gorgeous galaxy's core.
Credit and Copyright: 
Robert Gendler [ http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/ ]
facet_when: 
20th century
facet_where: 
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
facet_what: 
Cepheus
original url: 
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap040410.html
UID: 
SPD-APOD-ap040410