Hubble captures cosmic black eye 17 million light-years away from Earth

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 23-05-2022 12:29 IST | Created: 23-05-2022 12:29 IST
Hubble captures cosmic black eye 17 million light-years away from Earth
Image Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI); Acknowledgment: S. Smartt (Institute of Astronomy) and D. Richstone (U. Michigan)

NASA on Sunday shared a throwback picture of M64, also known as the Black Eye galaxy, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Located 17 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices, the galaxy has a spectacular dark band of absorbing dust in front of its bright nucleus, hence the name 'Black Eye'.

M64 is best observed in the month of May and the galaxy can be spotted with small telescopes. In this Hubble image of M64, the newly-formed hot and blue stars, along with pink clouds of glowing hydrogen gas that fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light from newly formed stars, are particularly noticeable.

Astronomers believe that the oppositely rotating gas arose when the Black Eye galaxy absorbed a satellite galaxy that collided with it, perhaps more than one billion years ago. This small galaxy has now been almost completely destroyed, but signs of the collision persist in the backward motion of gas at the outer edge of the galaxy.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. The observatory was launched and deployed by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990.

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