A spiral with a past

This image of the archetypal spiral galaxy, known as NGC 691, was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

NGC 691 can be found 120 million light-years from Earth and is located in the constellation Aries.

Hubble’s high-resolution Wide Field Camera 3 made it possible to capture the impressive level of structure within the galaxy’s layers of stars and spiralling arms.

NGC 691 was first discovered by astronomer William Herschel who spent his decades-long career hunting for, characterising and cataloguing a wide array of galaxies and nebulas visible throughout the night sky.

The detail visible in this image would likely be extraordinary to Hershel today.

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