NGC 986


An Often Ignored BeautyThis is the spiral galaxy NGC 986 in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace). The galaxy is about 56 million light-years away, and we see it almost perfectly face-on from Earth, allowing us to see the two main spiral arms and also a central bar-shaped structure, composed of stars and dust, which makes it a barred spiral galaxy.

Image Credit: ESO

NGC 986


A spiral in a furnaceNGC 986 is found in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), located in the southern sky. NGC 986 is around 56 million light-years away, and its golden center and barred swirling arms are clearly visible in this image assembled from data captured by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. (The stars in the upper right appear a little fuzzy because a gap in the Hubble data was filled in with images from ground-based telescopes. The view  is accurate, but the resolution is no match for Hubble.)

Barred spiral galaxies are spiral galaxies with stars forming a central bar-shaped structure. NGC 986 has the characteristic S-shaped structure of this type of galaxy. Young blue stars can be seen dotted through the galaxy’s arms, and the core is also alight with star formation.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

NGC 613


A spiral galaxy’s brights and darksNGC 613 is a barred spiral galaxy about 65 million light-years away in the constellation of The Sculptor. It’s core looks bright and uniformly white in this image as a result of the combined light shining from the high concentration of stars packed into the core, but a massive black hole lurks at the center of this brilliance. Its mass is estimated at about 10 times that of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, and it is consuming stars, gas, and dust. As matter descends into the black hole’s, it radiates energy, but when looking at the galaxy in the optical and infrared wavelengths used to take this image, there is no trace of its dark heart.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

NGC 1097


NGC 1097NGC 1097 is a barred spiral galaxy. It’s also a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have supermassive black holes at their centers which are surrounded by accretion discs of in-falling material. Seen in visible light, most Seyfert galaxies look like normal spiral galaxies, but when studied in other wavelengths, the luminosity of their cores is of comparable intensity to that of entire galaxies the size of the Milky Way.

Dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 1097A is a peculiar elliptical galaxy that orbits 42,000 light-years from the center of NGC 1097

Image Credit: ESO