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Galaxy NGC 7331 - the Milky Way's Twin
If our own Milky Way galaxy were 50 million light-years away with its disk inclined slightly to our line of sight, it would look a lot like large spiral galaxy NGC 7331. This striking image was produced using data from the Calar Alto Observatory in southern Spain. Perhaps the deepest view of the region yet, the image data were processed to reveal sharp details of all sizes in both bright and faint areas. NGC 7331 is interesting in part because it is thought to be so similar to the Milky Way. Light from older, cooler stars, dominates the central bulge of NGC 7331, while Spitzer data also indicates the presence of a black hole within this galaxy's central regionsabout the same size as the black hole at our own galactic core. The spiral arms span about 100,000 light-years, the size of the Milky Way.