Newborn stars set ‘grand design’ spiral galaxy aglow in stunning new photo

The golden spiral arms of a distant galaxy sparkle in new images from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The galaxy, known as NGC 4254 or Messier 99, is an example of a grand design spiral galaxy, which has prominent, well-defined spiral arms that wrap tightly around the galaxy’s center. Located 49 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Coma Berenices, NGC 4254 houses a stellar nursery shining with clouds of gas ionized by newly born stars, according to a statement from the ESO.