Here's a low-res shot of NGC 5172, currently in first place. "Digitized Sky Survey (DSS), STScI/AURA, Palomar/Caltech, UKSTU/AAO"
Is it nerdy that I'm really excited about this? NASA is leaving the next Hubble Telescope discovery up to-- not astronauts, or scientists, or even Barack Obama -- but to us. Until March 1, anyone can vote for their favorite of six celestial objects, and the winner will be the next area of Hubble exploration. Leading the competition right now is NGC 5172 -- a spiral galaxy being described as "colorful and majestic." (It also enjoys long walks on the beach.) But there are five more beautiful, exciting areas of the universe to be explored, and they deserve equal attention -- NGC 4289, Arp 274, and who could forget NGC 6634?
This is a great opportunity to get your kids excited about the universe. Get informed about the Hubble Telescope, the unexplored space objects, and then let them vote for their fave. Get them rooting for their picks! (Right now, I'm rooting for NGC 6072 because I love the underdog. And yes, I check back often.)