Pink clouds of the spiral galaxy

NGC 300 is one of the brightest and most colorful galaxies in the night sky, thanks to its big pink clouds. Because it's so close to Earth, you can actually spot it in the night sky with regular binoculars.

Located in the Sculptor Group of galaxies just six million light-years from Earth - barely any distance at all in intergalactic terms - NGC 300 is one of the brightest galaxies in the southern skies, and any amateur astronomer in the southern hemisphere should be able to spot it without much difficulty. Of course, a pair of binoculars won't reveal the amazing detail that we can see in this photo taken by the Wide Field Imager at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

The pink spots, which almost make it look as though the galaxy has come down with a case of galactic chicken pox or measles, are energetic star-forming regions. These bright nebulae are so packed with new stars that they're easily distinguishable from the fainter, wispier parts of the rest of the galaxy. You can click on the image up top for a closer look at NGC 300.

[ESO]