NASA's Hubble spots stunning 'pinwheeling' galaxy

NASA released a gorgeous close-up image of a distant spiral galaxy.

The image released on Friday shows IC 2051, a galaxy located in the southern constellation of Mensa (also known as the Table Mountain) about 85 million light-years away.

According to the space agency, IC 2051 is a spiral galaxy, noticeable in its whirling, pinwheeling arms and a bar of stars cutting through its center.

"Spiral galaxies like IC 2051 are shaped a bit like flying saucers when seen from the side; they comprise a thin, flat disk, with a bulky bulge of stars in the center that extends above and below the disk," the European Space Agency (ESA) explains in a statement posted with the image.

NASA SPOTS COSMIC 'CANDY CANE' IN MILKY WAY

This image comprises data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 at visible and infrared wavelengths.

This image comprises data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 at visible and infrared wavelengths. (ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Erwin et al.)

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"These bulges are thought to play a key role in how galaxies evolve, and to influence the growth of the supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of most spirals," the ESA said.

Scientists need to study these galactic bulges more, but they may be complex composite structures rather than simple ones, according to the space agency.

NASA spotted a colorful cosmic "candy cane" last week.