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Galaxy NGC2997 Image from the Very Large Telescope UT1

NGC 2997 is a grand design spiral galaxy. Its small nucleus and sprawling spiral arms give it a type "Sc" designation. NGC 2997 is speeding away from us at about 1100 kilometers per second, which would place it at about 55 million light years distant, given current estimates of the expansion rate of our universe. NGC 2997 is thought to have a mass of about 100 billion times that of our Sun, but is probably less massive than our own Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 2997 is not seen face-on; it is thought tilted by about 45 degrees. NGC 2997 is particularly notable for a nucleus surrounded by a chain of hot giant clouds of ionized hydrogen.

This is a three-colour composite of the spiral galaxy NGC 2997 in the southern constellation Antlia (The Air Pump), obtained with the 8-meter VLT UT1 and FORS1. The galaxy is about 55 million light-years away and about 60,000 light-years across. FORS1 was operated in high-resolution imaging mode; the pixel size was 0.1 arsec.

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