Sifting throught Astronomy Picture of the Day archive this evening. Absolutely spectacular barred spiral galaxy designated NGC 1365. This gem can be found in the constellation Fornax. The light we're seeing started on its journey nearly 60 million years ago. Just about the time the first flowers were starting to bloom, birds were making a bid for dominance in place of the dinosaurs and mammals were still little ground and tree dwellers. The trees were still giant tree ferns, no evergreens. No maples, birches, or great oaks to silhouette the skies. Ah, how the world has changed.
Scientists estimate the galaxy is about 200,000 light years across and is believed to have a super massive black hole in the center. The glowing blue clouds of gas in the arms are where new stars are born. Of course since giant blue white stars have very short lives measured in tens of millions of years rather than billions, the stars we see a borning now have probably lived their lives, gone nova and spawned a new generation.