Hubble Sights a Sail of Stars

©NASA

NGC 3318

The spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 3318 are lazily draped across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

This spiral galaxy lies in the constellation Vela and is roughly 115 million light-years away from Earth. Vela was originally part of a far larger constellation, known as Argo Navis after the fabled ship Argo from Greek mythology, but this unwieldy constellation proved to be impractically large.

Argo Navis was split into three separate parts called Carina, Puppis, and Vela - each named after part of the Argo. As befits a galaxy in a nautically inspired constellation, the outer edges of NGC 3318 almost resemble a ship's sails billowing in a gentle breeze.

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, European Southern Observatory (ESO), R. J. Foley; Acknowledgment: R. Colombari
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