This picture of a spiral galaxy might hypnotise you!
Spiral galaxies are known for their beautiful and intricate patterns of stars, gas, and dust, which can be quite mesmerizing to look at. The symmetry and swirl of the arms, combined with the bright glow of the nucleus, can create a captivating image that draws the viewer in. The European Southern Observatory's Picture of the Week shows a spiral galaxy, named NGC 4303, the hypnotizing golden glow that draws you into the image is the result of clouds of molecular gas - the building blocks for the formation of stars.
NGC 4303 is located approximately 55 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Captured using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), co-operated by ESO in the Chilean Andes, this image combines data taken at radio and visible wavelengths of light.
ALMA, one of the largest and most advanced astronomical facilities in the world, is a large array of radio telescopes that work together to help astronomers observe the universe with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, providing important information about the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and planetary systems.
The blueish regions in the background showcase stars that have already formed. They were captured by the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.
VLT, one of the world's most advanced optical telescopes, is a series of four 8.2m diameter Unit Telescopes and four movable 1.8m diameter Auxiliary Telescopes, which can work together as an interferometer, allowing astronomers to pick up much finer details of the cosmos than they would alone.
By analyzing the distribution of gas (yellow) and stars (blue), astronomers can investigate the factors that drive, promote, or hinder the formation of new stars.
This Picture of the Week might hypnotise you! This is the spiral galaxy NGC4303 observed with @almaobs and our VLT. From the maps of gas (yellow) and stars (blue) astronomers can study how stars form.🔗 https://t.co/rVF4IUlV31Credit: ESO/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/PHANGS pic.twitter.com/UYrHICAoRg— ESO (@ESO) February 6, 2023
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