An unusual, warped spiral galaxy dazzles in new Hubble image

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 25-05-2022 07:10 IST | Created: 25-05-2022 07:10 IST
An unusual, warped spiral galaxy dazzles in new Hubble image
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and L. Ho (Peking University); Image Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

NASA has released a new Galaxies Galore image featuring NGC 3718, a highly disturbed spiral galaxy with an unusual, warped shape that lies about 52 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. In this image, the Hubble Space Telescope scrutinizes the sinuous, twisting dust lane in detail as it sweeps by the core of the galaxy and curves into the surrounding gas.

The spiral galaxy looks a bit like a plump letter "s" from Earth, with a thin thread of dark dust snaking through it. Both its gas and dust lane are similarly distorted into this unique configuration.

NGC 3718, also called Arp 214, is thought to get its unusual shape from gravitational interaction with a nearby spiral galaxy, NGC 3729, which lies a mere 150 thousand light-years to the right of the galaxy.

This interaction likely causes the line of reddish star formation that extends toward the 9 o'clock position, and the dark tendril of dust that reaches toward the 7 o'clock position.

The Hubble Space Telescope Hubble took this image in infrared and visible light as part of a study, which was meant to help clarify the relationship between the mass of supermassive black holes and the properties of galactic bulges and to investigate star formation on a galactic scale - from the region around the nucleus to a galaxy's disk.

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