The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as Messier 83 (M83), is a barred spiral galaxy located in Hydra constellation. M83 lies at a distance of 15 million light years from Earth. It is one of the nearest and brightest spiral galaxies, and can even be seen in binoculars. The galaxy appears face-on when viewed from Earth.
Messier 83 was nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy because of its prominent, very well defined spiral arms, which give the galaxy an appearance similar to the famous Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101), located in Ursa Major. Messier 83 has the designation NGC 5236 in the New General Catalogue.
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The Big Dipper is one of the most easily recognizable asterisms in the night sky, found in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The star pattern, formed by the seven brightest stars of Ursa Major, is well-known in many cultures and goes by many other names, among them the Plough, the Great Wagon, Saptarishi, and the Saucepan. The Big Dipper is particularly prominent in the northern sky in the summer, and is one of the first star patterns we learn to identify.
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