Grand Spiral Galaxy Shines in Cosmic Loop (Photo)
Bernard Miller took this image of the Grand Spiral Galaxy, M81, and Arp's Loop Feb. 16, 2013 to March 14, 2013 from Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico. He used a TEC-140 (F7) telescope, AP900 GTO mount and a SBIG ST-8300M to capture the photo.
Credit: Copyright 2013 Bernard Miller

The Grand Spiral Galaxy appears to be spinning through the arc of Arp's Loop in this cool night sky image.

Bernard Miller captured this photo between Feb. 16 and March 14 from Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico. Miller used a TEC-140 (F7) telescope, AP900 GTO mount and a SBIG ST-8300M to take this image.

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The Grand Spiral Galaxy, also called M81, is about 11.8 million light-years away. It is similar in size to our Milky Way and is one of the brightest galaxies in the sky. In this image, the bright, golden core stands out while the blue and purple arms spiral out from the center.

The faint arc on the top right of the image is called Arp's Loop. Scientists initially thought the loop was material pulled out of M81 by a larger neighbor, M2. However, later investigations showed the loop could also be part of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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