This is a Hubble image of the spiral galaxy NGC 2841. The thing that makes this galaxy odd is that it isn't odd.
It's about 30 - 40 million light years away, neither really close nor really far. It's maybe 70,000 light years across - smaller than our Milky Way, perhaps average for a spiral. It's not blasting energy out of its core as some galaxies do, nor is it totally quiet, like the Milky Way is. It doesn't have gigantic regions of star formation in its arms, it doesn't have a rectangular bar in its center, it doesn't appear to have large satellite galaxies. It's a run-of-the-mill, everyday, neither-here-nor-there galaxy.
But that's what makes it special: it's a control, a gauge, a ruler against which to measure other galaxies. How do you know if some galaxy is acting bizarrely if we don't know what normal is? NGC 2841 is normal.
But it's still gorgeous. I love the way the central region looks smooth and uniform, but the dust clouds in the arms are patchy, crinkly like the top of a snickerdoodle. Sometimes in these lists I like to pick the extreme objects, because in many cases in the extreme there lies beauty. But there can also be beauty in the mundane as well.
Image credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration Acknowledgment: M. Crockett and S. Kaviraj (Oxford University, UK), R. O’Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (STScI) and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee