I can’t claim this is one of Hubble’s best images but I have grown fond of it for multiple reasons. Astronomers are interested in the many bright globular clusters dotting the central region of the galaxy. The morphology of the galaxy is also interesting to study because there is a lot of evidence that its unusual appearance is due to a recent merger. There are possibly two galactic nuclei in the center. Call it another piece of a cosmological puzzle.
Some important notes about the processing: The left side includes a set of data that was less deep than the right side so you might notice the right side is a bit smoother and cleaner. Even more important, there is a hole up and to the left of the nucleus where data is completely missing. I filled it in with a gradient painting so that it wouldn’t be distracting but hopefully it is just obvious enough so that you realize that is not actually data. If you look closely you can see diffraction spikes pointing toward a bright star hidden in the blank spot.
Red: hst_05212_01_wfpc2_f702w_wf_sci + hst_06861_01_wfpc2_f702w_wf_sci
Blue: hst_05212_01_wfpc2_f555w_wf_sci + hst_06861_01_wfpc2_f450w_wf_sci
North is up.
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.