The view from another galaxy

This is very probably what we look like to the passing inter-galactic traveller.

The astronomers at the European Southern Observatory who took this image of galaxy NGC 6744 said it was "almost a picture postcard" of our own Milky Way, featuring, "striking spiral arms wrapping around a dense, elongated nucleus and a dusty disc".

The spiral galaxy is roughly 30 million light years away in the southern constellation of Pavo – the Peacock – and can be identified by amateur astronomers as an oval shape contrasting with a rich background of stars.

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