Milky Way clone captured by European astronomers

London: Astronomers in Europe claim to have captured a striking image of a giant Milky Way "clone"– the bird`s eye view of which gives a good idea of what our own galaxy would look like to a passing space traveller.

The spiral galaxy, `NGC 6744`, is around 30 million light years away in the southern constellation of Pavo, the Peacock, according to a team of planetary scientists from the European Southern Observatory.

In the new image from European Southern Observatory, the astronomers say it is seen almost face on, so that the striking spiral arms are clearly visible, Britain`s `The Daily Telegraph` reported.

NGC 6744 would almost be an identical twin of the Milky Way were it not for its size. While our own galaxy is roughly 100,000 light years across, it has nearly twice that diameter, say the astronomers.

The dusty spiral arms are home to many glowing star-forming regions, seen in red. The astronomers took the picture using the 2.2 metre telescope at La Silla, Chile, jointly operated by the Max Planck Society and ESO.

The colours have been enhanced by passing the light through special filters.