This is Messier 74, a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Pisces.
I found color photos, but I like this B&W one best:
It shows off what SEDS says "is one of the nicest examples of so-called 'grand-design' spiral galaxies seen face-on, so that its spiral structure stands out conspicuously."
Pisces' faint stars appear to form two small circles connected by a string.
The constellation can be imagined as two fish connected by a ribbon, swimming in opposite directions.
In Greek (or Roman) mythology, these fish are the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, Aphrodite (Venus), and her son Eros (Cupid), god of erotic love and creative force. The two changed forms to escape the monsterous storm-giant Typhon (father of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards Hades, the underworld). To stay together, they connected themselves with a ribbon.
(Eros's father is Aphrodite's lover Ares [Mars], god of war.)
Pisces is my astrological Sun sign.
I like the cast of characters--all that desire and fire--and the multidimensionality of the fishes in water has always especially pleased me. Just like the starship Enterprise in outer space, Pisces can move freely in any direction. My brain likes being a fish in the universe.
But sometimes the two fish pull against each other and become immobile, like when your two index fingers get stuck in a Chinese raffia finger-trap.
The trick to getting out of such stasis is counterintuitve: stop pulling. Instead move toward the opposing force.
Being somewhat mulish, it's taken me forever to figure this out.
Right now I'm a bit stuck in my "sabbatical," this time I took off to explore where I want to go with work. I may need a shove toward looking for a job/career.
But I'm not just looking for a job. In fact, I could probably continue doing freelance editing/proofing/indexing jobs. I'm looking for work that will fuel me. It needn't necessarily even be paying work.
(Supposedly Pisces are not very ambitious in worldly terms, and I'm not.)
Maybe I'll just keep blogging...
I just now found this description of Pisces, which relates to me wanting work that connects me with the world but doesn't tie me down to the mundane:
Pisces witness to the difficult task of straddling the divide between the human and the divine. More than any other sign, perhaps, Pisces experiences normal human life as limited, for it excludes so much that can make life more complete.
Yet, even Pisceans have to live as human beings in a world full of limitations.
Coming to terms with the necessity to live in a world separate from Paradise can be an immense problem.
Some may attempt to live as if exclusion from Paradise had never happened, and live life in a constant daydream, very ineffective in the world as it is. Others, however, may learn to live life in the human arena in such a way as to infuse it with divine meaning.
Some famous Pisces I like:
Albert Einstein, who demonstrates the Piscesean preference for seeing the big picture over paying close attention to detail
Elizabeth Taylor, whose warm appetites are classically Piscean
Dr. Seuss, whose work is full of Piscean creativity and charm