Rio Rancho Astronomical Society
Friday January 15th: Monthly meeting and stargaze.
Meeting starts at 7:00 PM with stargaze to follow (weather permitting). Weather is expected to be cold, so dress warmly
For more information, contact RRAS President, Melanie Templet at 505-220-5355.
In the Center of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3521
This huge swirling mass of stars, gas, and dust occurs near the center of a nearby spiral galaxy. Gorgeous spiral NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years distant, toward the constellation Leo. Spanning some 50,000 light-years, its central region is shown in this dramatic image, constructed from data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The close-up view highlights this galaxy's characteristic multiple, patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust and clusters of young, blue stars. In contrast, many other spirals exhibit grand, sweeping arms. A relatively bright galaxy in planet Earth's sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes, but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M65 and M66.