Hubble snaps a spectacular spiral galaxy 300 million light-years from Earth

Devdiscourse News Desk | Paris | Updated: 26-09-2022 13:24 IST | Created: 26-09-2022 13:24 IST
Hubble snaps a spectacular spiral galaxy 300 million light-years from Earth
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Greene / Acknowledgement: R. Colombari

This latest image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the stately sweeping spiral arms of NGC 5495, a Seyfert galaxy which lies around 300 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.

Seyfert galaxies have extraordinarily active cores (known to astronomers as active galactic nuclei) that release as much energy as the rest of the galaxy put together. According to NASA, about 10% of all galaxies may be Seyfert galaxies. They belong to the class of active galaxies - galaxies that have supermassive black holes at their centres accreting material, which releases vast amounts of radiation.

Observed using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), this picture also features two stellar interlopers - one just outside the centre of NGC 5495, and the other, which is very prominent, is visible alongside the galaxy.

"While they share the same location on the sky, these objects are much closer to home than NGC 5495: they are stars from our own Milky Way. The bright stars are surrounded by criss-cross diffraction spikes, optical artefacts created by the internal structure of Hubble interacting with starlight," the European Space Agency said in a statement.

This Hubble image of the NGC 5495 galaxy is drawn from a series of observations captured by astronomers studying supermassive black holes lurking in the hearts of other galaxies. Astronomers were able to disentangle the various sources of light at the core of NGC 5495, thanks to Hubble's crystal-clear vision which allowed them to precisely weigh its supermassive black hole.

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