First discovered by famed British amateur astronomer William Herschel back in 1786, NGC 4700 is a giant edge-on galaxy located some 50 to 60 million light years away in the northern Springtime constellation Virgo. Through backyard telescopes in dark locations it looks like a faint patch of cloud about 4.5 x 0.5 min in size, shining at about 12.5 magnitude. however the Hubble’s keen eye above the blurring effect of Earth’s atmosphere manages to tease out fine details within the galaxy.
Look carefully at the photo and you can make out many pink colored clouds scattered across the galaxy. Known as HII regions by astronomers, these pink structures are where stars are born. Our own Milky Way has many examples of such star factories – the most famous of which is the Orion nebula.
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