Located 95 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, barred spiral edge-on galaxy NGC 5746 appears to slice through deep space in this stunning image.
Based in Western Michigan, avid astrophotographer Terry Hancock teamed up with former NASA scientist Fred Hermann of Huntsville, Ala., to take this photo. They used an AT 12" Ritchey-Chrétien astrograph telescope and cameras with a KAF8300 chip to capture the image. Hermann used a QSI 683 to capture luminance while Hancock used a QHY9 to shoot some luminance and RGB. The total exposure time was three hours. The image was taken March 19 from Bridgeton, Mich.
A barred spiral galaxy has a prominent central structure—usually shaped like a bar—composed of stars. These bar-shaped structures are found in nearly two-thirds of all spiral galaxies. Looking at the image, the central structure seems to almost have a box-like shape. One theory proposes that a barred spiral galaxy viewed edge-on might look like it had a box shape from our perspective on Earth.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.