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Hubble catches a streak of stars in side-on view of spiral galaxy

Date:
February 10, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
The Hubble Space Telescope captured a thin, glittering streak of stars in a new view of the spiral galaxy ESO 121-6, which lies in the southern constellation of Pictor (The Painter's Easel). Viewed almost exactly side-on, the intricate structure of the swirling arms is hidden, but the full length of the galaxy can be seen -- including the intense glow from the central bulge, a dense region of tightly packed young stars sitting at the center of the spiral arms.
Tendrils of dark dust can be seen across the frame, partially obscuring the bright center of the galaxy and continuing out towards the smattering of stars at its edges, where the dust lanes and shapes melt into the inky background. Numerous nearby stars and galaxies are visible as small smudges in the surrounding sky, and the brightest stars are dazzlingly prominent towards the bottom left of the image.

ESO 121-6 is a galaxy with patchy, loosely-wound arms and a relatively faint central bulge. It actually belongs to a group of galaxies, a clump of no more than 50 similar structures all loosely bound to one another by gravity. The Milky Way is also a member of a galactic group, known as the Local Group.

Spiral galaxy ESO 121-6.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a thin, glittering streak of stars in a new view of the spiral galaxy ESO 121-6, which lies in the southern constellation of Pictor (The Painter's Easel).

Viewed almost exactly side-on, the intricate structure of the swirling arms is hidden, but the full length of the galaxy can be seen -- including the intense glow from the central bulge, a dense region of tightly packed young stars sitting at the center of the spiral arms.

Tendrils of dark dust can be seen across the frame, partially obscuring the bright center of the galaxy and continuing out towards the smattering of stars at its edges, where the dust lanes and shapes melt into the inky background. Numerous nearby stars and galaxies are visible as small smudges in the surrounding sky, and the brightest stars are dazzlingly prominent towards the bottom left of the image.

ESO 121-6 is a galaxy with patchy, loosely-wound arms and a relatively faint central bulge. It actually belongs to a group of galaxies, a clump of no more than 50 similar structures all loosely bound to one another by gravity. The Milky Way is also a member of a galactic group, known as the Local Group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Hubble catches a streak of stars in side-on view of spiral galaxy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130210085811.htm>.
NASA. (2013, February 10). Hubble catches a streak of stars in side-on view of spiral galaxy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130210085811.htm
NASA. "Hubble catches a streak of stars in side-on view of spiral galaxy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130210085811.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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