Hubble captures a hazy galaxy around 50 million light-years from Earth

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 03-06-2023 09:16 IST | Created: 03-06-2023 09:16 IST
Hubble captures a hazy galaxy around 50 million light-years from Earth
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. O'Connell

This latest image beamed back by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows Messier 85, an intriguing galaxy that lies around 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair).

What makes Messier 85 so captivating is that its properties lie somewhere between those of a lenticular and an elliptical galaxy. It also appears to be interacting with its neighbouring celestial bodies.

To the upper left, the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 4394 gracefully interacts with Messier 85, adding an element of elegance and complexity to the celestial display. Meanwhile, the smaller elliptical galaxy known as MCG 3-32-38 can be found at the center bottom, engaging in its own gravitational interplay with Messier 85.

Comprising an astonishing 400 billion stars, most of which are considerably old, Messier 85 surprises researchers with a central region that hosts a population of relatively young stars. These stars, estimated to be just a few billion years old, likely formed in a late burst of star formation triggered by the galaxy's merger with another galactic entity over four billion years ago.

The mysteries surrounding Messier 85 do not end there. While most galaxies are believed to possess a supermassive black hole at their centers, the presence of such a black hole in Messier 85 remains uncertain.

The above image is a composite of infrared, visible, and ultraviolet observations from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.

The Hubble Space Telescope is renowned for its ability to capture breathtaking images of celestial objects in the cosmos. Its keen eye allows astronomers to explore the furthest reaches of space and uncover the hidden wonders that reside there.

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