Here are six of the most beautiful galaxies, "stripped bare" by a new camera. The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, paired with the HAWK-l infrared camera, saw past the interstellar dust to show us just the galaxies themselves.
According to ESO:
Compared to the earlier, and still much-used, VLT infrared camera ISAAC, HAWK-I has sixteen times as many pixels to cover a much larger area of sky in one shot and, by using newer technology than ISAAC, it has a greater sensitivity to faint infrared radiation. Because HAWK-I can study galaxies stripped bare of the confusing effects of dust and glowing gas it is ideal for studying the vast numbers of stars that make up spiral arms.
Check out more details over at ESO's site. Here are the individual galaxies' pictures. [ESO]
NGC 5247, a spiral galaxy dominated by two huge arms, located 60–70 million light-years away. The galaxy lies face-on towards Earth, thus providing an excellent view of its pinwheel structure. It lies in the zodiacal constellation of Virgo (the Maiden).
Messier 100, also known as NGC 4321, which was discovered in the 18th century. It is a fine example of a "grand design" spiral galaxy - a class of galaxies with very prominent and well-defined spiral arms. About 55 million light-years from Earth, Messier 100 is part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and lies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair, named after the ancient Egyptian queen Berenice II).
NGC 1300, a spiral galaxy with arms extending from the ends of a spectacularly prominent central bar. It is considered a prototypical example of barred spiral galaxies and lies at a distance of about 65 million light-years, in the constellation of Eridanus (the River).
NGC 4030 lies about 75 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Virgo.
NGC 2997 is a spiral galaxy roughly 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Antlia (the Air Pump). NGC 2997 is the brightest member of a group of galaxies of the same name in the Local Supercluster of galaxies. Our own Local Group, of which the Milky Way is a member, is itself also part of the Local Supercluster.
NGC 1232 is a beautiful galaxy some 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus (the River). The galaxy is classified as an intermediate spiral galaxy - somewhere between a barred and an unbarred spiral galaxy.