The lenticular galaxy NGC 6861 Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; acknowledgement: J. Barrington
Hubble gives us this spectacular view of NGC 6861. I always thought this was an elliptical galaxy. Not so, it’s a hybrid of sorts between an elliptical and a spiral called a lenticular.
Not viewable here at 45 deg North, it is a southern object. Too bad, it’s a beauty. I believe this galaxy is in the order of 31 Mpc distant or a little over 101 million light-years and still it is a magnitude 11 to 12. Distances are very tough to determine so there is some room for error.
Note: My computer is failing. Should I disappear for a short time you will know why. I think I can keep it going long enough to get a replacement – still one never knows.
From ESA via the NASA site:
The subject of this image is NGC 6861, a galaxy discovered in 1826 by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop. Almost two centuries later we now know that NGC 6861 is the second brightest member of a group of at least a dozen galaxies called the Telescopium Group — otherwise known as the NGC 6868 Group — in the small constellation of Telescopium (The Telescope).
A dwarf galaxy DDO68 might not be as young as it seems. Copyright: NASA, ESA. Acknowledgement: A. Aloisi (Space Telescope Science Institute)
From the ESA’s Hubble page:
Astronomers have studied galactic evolution for decades, gradually improving our knowledge of how galaxies have changed over cosmic history. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has played a big part in this, allowing astronomers to see further into the distance, and hence further back in time, than any telescope before it – capturing light that has taken billions of years to reach us.
Looking further into the very distant past to observe younger and younger galaxies is very valuable, but it is not without its problems for astronomers. All newly-born galaxies lie very far away from us and appear very small and faint in the images. On the contrary, all the galaxies near to us appear to be old ones.
DDO 68, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, was one of the best candidates so far discovered for a newly-formed galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood. The galaxy lies around 39 million light-years away from us; although this distance may seem huge, it is in fact roughly 50 times closer than the usual distances to such galaxies, which are on the order of several billions of light years.
Read the rest at ESA’s Hubble page.
A side note: I thought this dwarf galaxy was actually two galaxies in the process of merging, apparently not?
A star forming cloud in the constellation Serpens. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS
Serpens is one of the constellations we don’t hear much about but is probably familiar if you done much sky watching.
The alpha star has the interesting name of Unukalhai and is located at RA: 15h 45m 00.274s Dec: +06°22’54.854″ or Alt: +50°46’49.676″ Azim: 158°02’58.733″ if you have a compass. I put small finders chart here with the constellation outlined in blue. The tail points almost due south (time is about midnight local).
Within the swaddling dust of the Serpens Cloud Core, astronomers are studying one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy. This infrared image combines data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope with shorter-wavelength observations from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), letting us peer into the clouds of dust wrapped around this stellar nursery.
At a distance of around 750 light-years, these young stars reside within the confines of the constellation Serpens, or the “Serpent.” This collection contains stars of only relatively low to moderate mass, lacking any of the massive and incredibly bright stars found in larger star-forming regions like the Orion nebula. Our sun is a star of moderate mass. Whether it formed in a low-mass stellar region like Serpens, or a high-mass stellar region like Orion, is an ongoing mystery.
Yesterday I showed a nice gravitational lensed galaxy, then I thought maybe I could show a video that explains what is going on a little more clearly.
This video fills the bill and it is HD so it looks great full screen too.
A gravitaional lensed galaxy from Hubble and Hershel. Credit: NASA/STScI; S. Allam and team; and the Master Lens Database, L. A. Moustakas, K. Stewart, et al (2014)
Hubble and Herschel combine to study the galaxy known as S0901 seen here as a arc. The arc is a result of huge gravitational forces from a galaxy or galaxies between us and the galactic arc, gravity so strong light from the more distant S0901 is actually magnified and bent into an arc.
Fascinating stuff! I do wonder if we will ever be able to sort of reverse engineer the arc into some semblance of the actual hidden galaxy.
target=”blank’>More images and the following caption at NASA:
The young galaxy SDSS090122.37+181432.3, also known as S0901, is seen here as the bright arc to the left of the central bright galaxy. The distorted view of S0901 is caused by gravitational lensing, resulting from one or more galaxies that lie between the observer and S0901. Although one effect of lensing is to distort the image, another effect is to magnify the light of the lensed object. This effect was used to enable scientists to study S0901 with Herschel’s Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI).
A wonderful talk by teenager and Intel Science Fair winner Henry Lin. Great job!
I have to include another great TED talk: “How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries” by Adam Savage.
TEDEd Lesson builder – Henry Lin
Note: The SpaceX launch to the ISS originally scheduled for tomorrow morning (16 March 2104) has been rescheduled to 30 March 2014.
A new look at Centaurus A.Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Birmingham/M. Burke et al.
Centaurus A is always a treat to see in a good image. This Chandra image gives us an especially good look at those huge jets of material being rejected by the supermassive blackhole at the center of the galaxy.
This image shows those bubble structures too.
Just weeks after NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory began operations in 1999, the telescope pointed at Centaurus A (Cen A, for short). This galaxy, at a distance of about 12 million light years from Earth, contains a gargantuan jet blasting away from a central supermassive black hole.
Since then, Chandra has returned its attention to this galaxy, each time gathering more data. And, like an old family photo that has been digitally restored, new processing techniques are providing astronomers with a new look at this old galactic friend.
A rare Polar Ring Galaxy called NGC 660 from Hubble. Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Here’s a recent offering from Hubble showing NGC 660, which is described in the caption below from the ESA Week in Pictures.
NGC 660 is a polar ring galaxy, sadly the orientation doesn’t allow us to see that too well. APOD showed the excellent example years ago of NGC 4650A.
This new Hubble image shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 660, located around 45 million light-years away from us.
NGC 660 is classified as a “polar ring galaxy,” meaning that it has a belt of gas and stars around its center that it ripped from a near neighbor during a clash about one billion years ago.The first polar ring galaxy was observed in 1978 and only around a dozen more have been discovered since then, making them something of a cosmic rarity.
No not the big one, look at the arrow. Click for an enlargement. Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, and J. Strader (Michigan State University)
The environment around the galaxy M60 contains a very dense galaxy called M60-UCD1.
At first I was kind of surprising this galaxy was even noticed being so close to M60. Turns out a closer look with Chandra shows it to be very distinctive.
The densest galaxy in the nearby universe may have been found. The galaxy, known as M60-UCD1, is located near a massive elliptical galaxy NGC 4649, also called M60, about 54 million light-years from Earth.
This composite image shows M60 and the region around it, where data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are pink and data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are red, green and blue. The Chandra image shows hot gas and double stars containing black holes and neutron stars, and the Hubble image reveals stars in M60 and neighboring galaxies including M60-UCD1. The arrow points to M60-UCD1.
The Sculptor galaxy composite image. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHU
Another great colloboration for astronomical research, this between the ESO, Chandra and NuSTAR. The Sculptor is a great target for such things AND it is a great backyard target too.
Get the details on The Sculptor / NGC 253 from SEDS.
The press release from JPL (click to get larger versions of the image)
The Sculptor galaxy is seen in a new light, in this composite image from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Visible data from the European Space Observatory show the backbone of the galaxy made up of stars, while NuSTAR data, which appear as colored blobs, show high-energy X-rays. The NuSTAR observations are the sharpest ever taken of this galaxy in high-energy X-rays.
The findings, when combined with those from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, suggest that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Sculptor galaxy, also known as NGC 253, has dozed off, or gone inactive, sometime in the past decade. Future observations from both telescopes should help address this mystery.