NGC 5486’s thin disk is pierced by pink streaks of star formation that stand out against the diffuse glow of the galaxy’s bright core.
Although this particular galaxy has fuzzy twisting spiral arms, it sits next to the much larger Pinwheel Galaxy (M101 or NGC 5457), which is one of the best-known examples of a spiral galaxy with prominent and well-defined spiral arms. In 2006, Hubble took a picture of the Pinwheel Galaxy, which at the time was the largest and most detailed photograph of a spiral galaxy ever taken with Hubble.
NGC 5486 lies 110 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. This observation is based on a selection of Hubble images examining debris left behind by Type II supernovae. When massive stars reach the end of their lives, they release massive amounts of gas and dust before ending their lives in titanic supernova explosions.
In 2004, a supernova exploded in the galaxy NGC 5486, and astronomers used the sharp vision of Hubble’s Advanced Camera to study the aftermath in hopes of learning more about these explosive events.