NGC 5033

NGC 5033 is a spiral galaxy located about 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). The galaxy is similar in size to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, about 100,000 light-years across. Like in the Milky Way, NGC 5033’s spiral arms are dotted with blue regions where new stars are being born while the older, cooler stars populating the galaxy’s center cause it to appear redder in color.

Unlike the Milky Way, NGC 5033 has no central bar. Instead, it has a bright and energetic core (called an active galactic nucleus) powered by a supermassive black hole. As matter falls into the supermassive black hole, the core shines brightly across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio to x-rays.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

A Grand Design Galaxy

NGC 7424This galaxy is the beautiful multi-armed NGC 7424, seen almost directly face-on. It’s around 40 million light-years in the southern sky constellation Grus (the Crane). It’s an example of a “grand design” galaxy, intermediate in form between normal spirals and strongly barred galaxies; it has rather open arms with a small central region. Ten young massive star clusters whose size span the range from 1 to 200 light-years have been identified. NGC 7424 is approximately 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Because of its low surface brightness, this galaxy demands dark skies and a clear night to be observed in detail. When viewed in a small telescope, it appears as a large elliptical haze with no trace of the many beautiful filamentary arms with a multitude of branches revealed in this image taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

Image Credit: ESO

A Meathook and a Flying Fish

Distorted galaxy NGC 2442The distorted galaxy NGC 2442, also known as the Meathook Galaxy, is located some 50 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Volans (the Flying Fish). The galaxy’s two dusty spiral arms extending from its pronounced central bar give it a hook-like appearance. The galaxy’s distorted shape is most likely the result of a close encounter with a smaller, unseen galaxy.

Image Credit: ESO

A Top Down View of a Spiral Galaxy

NGC1309_HLANGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation Eridanus (The River) about 100 million light-years away. It about 30,000 light-years across or about one third the size of our Milky Way galaxy. Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes trace out NGC 1309’s spiral arms, winding around an older yellowish star population at the galaxy’s core.

NGC 1309’s recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars have been used to derive calibration data for the expansion of the Universe.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Hubble Is Back In Business

These images are among the first from Hubble after its return to full science operations. On the left is ARP-MADORE2115-273, a rarely observed example of a pair of interacting galaxies. On the right is ARP-MADORE0002-503, a large spiral galaxy with unusual spiral arms. Most disk galaxies have an even number of spiral arms, but this one has three.

Image Credits: Science—NASA / ESA / STScI / Julianne Dalcanton (UW)
Image processing—Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

A Pair of Different Galaxies

This image taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 shows a pair of dissimilar galaxies. The one in the upper left is the lenticular galaxy cataloged as 2MASX J03193743+4137580. The spiral galaxy in the lower right has the shorter designation of UGC 2665. They’re both about 350 million light-years away.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Warp Factor

How did spiral galaxy ESO 510-13 get bent out of shape? The disks of many spiral galaxies are thin and flat, but with the gaps between star they are not solid. Spiral disks are loose conglomerations of billions of stars and diffuse gas all gravitationally orbiting a galaxy center. The common flat disk shape  is thought to be created by sticky collisions of large gas clouds early in the galaxy’s formation. Warped disks are not uncommon, though, and even our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have a bit of warp. The causes of spiral warps are still being investigated, but some warps are thought to result from interactions or even collisions between galaxies. ESO 510-13, shown in the digitally sharpened Hubble image above, is about 150 million light years away and about 100,000 light years across.

Image Credit: NASA

NGC 300

ngc 300NGC 300 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. At one time, it was thought that NGC 300 was a part of a galaxy cluster know as th eSculptor Group. However, recent measurements show that it is closer to us in the relatively empty space between our Local Group and the Sculptor Group. It’s about 94,000 light-years in diameter, somewhat smaller than the Milky Way

Image Credit: ESO

A Cosmic Bullseye

This false color image of galaxy NGC 1921 was taken in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The outer red ring is filled with new stars that are igniting and heating up surrounding dust which glows in infrared light. The stars in the center of the galaxy produce shorter-wavelength infrared light which is color-coded blue. The old stars in the center have long ago gobbled up the available gas supply, the fuel for making new stars.

NGC 1921 is roughly 12 billion years old. It is known as a barred galaxy because a central bar of stars (which appears as a blue S in this view) dominates its center. When barred galaxies are young and gas-rich, the stellar bars draw gas toward the center, feeding star formation there. As that star-making fuel runs out, the central regions calm down, and star-formation activity moves to the outskirts of a galaxy. There, spiral density waves and resonances induced by the central bar help gas coalesce into stars. The red outer ring is such s resonance location, where gas is being trapped and new stars ignited.

Image Credit: NASA