Potaru (M 81)

The sharpest image ever taken of the large "grand design" spiral galaxy Messier 81. The image, constructed from a series of images taken with NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is among the largest ever released. Messier 81 is one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from the Earth.

The beautiful galaxy Messier 81 is tilted at an oblique angle on to our line of sight, giving a "birds-eye view" of the spiral structure. The galaxy is similar to our Milky Way, but our favorable view provides a better picture of the typical architecture of spiral galaxies. Though the galaxy is 11.6 million light-years away, the vision of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas.