M83 is classified as being an intermediate between normal and barred spiral galaxies. It is located in the southern constellation Hydra and is one of the show pieces of the southern sky, often referred to as The Southern Pinwheel. The distance to M83 is estimated to be some 15 million light years.
M83 has strongly defined spiral arms and shows many pink and blue knots throughout the spiral structures. The pink regions are massive gaseous nebulae in which new stars are born. The blue regions represent young stellar populations which have formed relatively recently within the last dozens of million years.
Between the pronounced spiral arms are regions with fewer stars. Noticeable dark dust lanes follow the spiral structure throughout the disk, and can be traced well into the central region to the nucleus. Around the nucleus is an older population of yellow stars which dominates the whole central region, and extends along the bar-like structure.
OPTICS: 10" Newtonian f/5.2
MOUNT: Losmandy G11 equatorial
CAMERA: Philips ToUCam Pro SC1 webcam
EXPOSURE: 38 x 60s
DATE/TIME: 06/05/2006 13:41 UTC
LOCATION: My backyard observatory in west Auckland, New Zealand