NASA telescope captures stunning image of nearby lens-shaped galaxy

Lenticular galaxies get their names from their edge-on appearance that resembles a lens. They fall somewhere in between spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies and have a large central bulge and flattened disk-like spirals, but no spiral arms.


Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 20-05-2022 12:19 IST | Created: 20-05-2022 12:19 IST
NASA telescope captures stunning image of nearby lens-shaped galaxy
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Sivakoff (University of Alberta); Image processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America)

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a spectacular image of NGC 1023, one of the nearest, massive lenticular (lens-shaped) galaxies to Earth that lies some 36 million light-years away from us.

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) captured this image in visible blue light and near infrared light, represented by blue and orange colors, respectively.

In this Hubble image, NGC 1023 is not alone, it is accompanied by an irregular satellite galaxy, NGC 1023a. See the fuzzy blue patch to the lower left of the galaxy.

The galaxy pair was part of a study that looked at multiple star systems and star clusters in galaxies beyond our home galaxy - the Milky Way. The researchers found 81 long-lived open star clusters (loosely bound groups of a few tens to a few hundred stars) in NGC 1023's disk as well as 27 young blue star clusters, NASA said.

Lenticular galaxies get their names from their edge-on appearance that resembles a lens. They fall somewhere in between spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies and have a large central bulge and flattened disk-like spirals, but no spiral arms.

Also, lenticular galaxies don't have much gas and dust, and also have mainly old stars.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. The space-based observatory has made more than 1.5 million scientific observations in its 31+ years of operation and more than 19,000 scientific papers have been published by astronomers using its data. ACS was installed on the telescope during Servicing Mission 3B in 2002.

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