About two thirds of spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, feature a central bar of stars and long arms spiralling loosely around the nucleus. NGC 613, discovered in 1798 by William Hershel, provides a textbook example as seen in this beautifully detailed image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and released 11 January. NGC 613 is located about 67 million light years from Earth in the southern constellation Sculptor.
The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51, is familiar to legions of amateur astronomers as a relatively faint face-on spiral with a smaller companion galaxy, but the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the Whirlpool in all its splendour, a magnificent spiral studded with countless clusters and dust lanes.
By pushing the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to its limits, astronomers have shattered the cosmic distance record by measuring the distance to the most remote galaxy ever seen in the universe. The galaxy, named GN-z11, has a redshift of 11.1, which corresponds to 400 million years after the Big Bang when the universe was only three percent of its current age.