Big, bright, and beautiful, spiral galaxy M83 lies a mere twelve million light-years away, near the southeastern tip of the very long constellation Hydra. Prominent spiral arms traced by dark dust lanes and blue star clusters lend this galaxy its popular name of the Southern Pinwheel. But reddish star forming regions that dot the sweeping arms highlighted in this sparkling color composite also suggest another nickname, The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy. About 40,000 light-years across, M83 is a member of a group of galaxies that includes active galaxy Centaurus A. The core of M83 itself is bright at x-ray energies, showing a high concentration of neutron stars and black holes left from an intense burst of star formation. Above the galaxy is visible a very faint curved tidal stream first seen by David Malin in an image produced at the Anglo-Australian Observatory (his original work visible here). Recent researches suggest that this structure is most probably part of a very far and faint spiral arm belonging to M83. This deep image also features spiky foreground Milky Way stars and many distant background galaxies (text adapted from APOD).
Apo TEC140 (140/f7.2) - FLI Proline 16803 - Ha (210m) L (360m) R (160m) G (160m) B (170m) - Warrumbungle Observatory, Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia