You may not have heard of NGC 6744, a galaxy about 30 million light years away from Earth, but it sure looks familiar.
The beautiful spiral galaxy, located in the southern constellation Pavo (The Peacock), is a virtual copy of our own Milky Way, though about twice as big.
“If we had the technology to escape the Milky Way and could look down on it from intergalactic space, this view is close to the one we would see — striking spiral arms wrapping around a dense, elongated nucleus and a dusty disc,” writes European Southern Observatory press officer Richard Hook.
“There is even a distorted companion galaxy — NGC 6744A, seen here as a smudge to the lower right of NGC 6744 — which is reminiscent of one of the Milky Way’s neighboring Magellanic Clouds,” he adds.
The picture was taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It was assembled from images taken through four different filters, pictured here in blue, green, orange and red.
Image credit: ESO