Spiral galaxy Messier 94 (NGC 4736)

M94 (NGC 4736), an especially bright early-type spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici. The inner regions of this galaxy are probably the brightest to be found among nearby normal galaxies. An interesting feature is the very bright inner spiral pattern of star-forming regions, especially prominent in blue light (and even more so in the Astro-2 ultraviolet images). Analysis of the spectrum of the starlight near the nucleus indicates that this is in a post-starburst phase, having undergone an intense burst of star formation almost a billion years ago which is now fading into the redder background of older giant stars.

This color composite is from images taken in blue, yellow-green, and red (BVR) filters, using a CCD at the 1.1-meter Hall telescope of Lowell Observatory, by Bill Keel. It covers a region 4.7 arcminutes square.

The edge of the inner, very bright spiral structure in M94 is marked by a ring of star-forming regions, well shown in this pseudocolor Hα image taken with the Kitt Peak 2.1m telescope (and video camera, circa 1981).

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