NGC 6946: the fireworks galaxy

NGC 6946, RGB, processing by George.

NGC 6946, (aka the Fireworks Galaxy), is a face-on intermediate spiral galaxy with a small bright nucleus, between Cepheus and Cygnus. Its distance from Earth is about 25.2 million light-years. It is obscured by interstellar matter due to its location close to the galactic plane of the Milky Way. Due to its hign star formation it has been classified as an active starburst galaxy.

Various unusual celestial objects have been observed within NGC 6946. This includes the so-called ‘Red Ellipse’ along one of the northern arms that looks like a super-bubble or very large supernova remnant, and which may have been formed by an open cluster containing massive stars. Another object, discovered in 1967, is now known as “Hodge’s Complex”. It is conjectured to be an interacting dwarf galaxy superimposed on NGC 6946.

My version of the Fireworks galaxy.