The Hubble Space Telescope has recently captured a stunning image of the snake-like spiral galaxy NGC 1087, revealing its swirling arms of new and old stars. The light from this breathtaking galaxy began its journey to Earth approximately 80 million years ago, giving us a glimpse into the past. NASA released this captivating image as part of Hubble Galaxy Week, a celebration that took place from October 2 to October 7.
Situated in the constellation Cetus, which is named after a mythical Greek sea monster, NGC 1087 showcases a plethora of features that have piqued the interest of astronomers. It contains cold molecular gas, which serves as the raw material for new star formation, evident in the broken tendrils of red light. The galaxy also houses hot stars within its blue regions, including a rare class called Wolf-Rayet that formed in the distant past.
NGC 1087 has had its fair share of noteworthy events. In August 1995, astronomers observed a dramatic supernova that caused a temporary increase in the galaxy’s brightness. However, the most notable characteristic of NGC 1087 is its bright-white starry bar located at the center of its twisted gas trails. This central bar exhibits hints of birthing stars, making it an exciting object for astronomers to study.
Interestingly, NGC 1087’s central bar shares similarities with the one found in our own Milky Way galaxy, albeit being slightly shorter in length. This makes galaxies like NGC 1087 invaluable targets for observation, as they provide insights into the size and shape of the central bar in our own galaxy.
A particularly alluring aspect of NGC 1087 is its visibility from both the northern and southern hemispheres, as it is located just south of the celestial equator. This accessibility grants astronomers from all around the globe the opportunity to study and analyze its cosmic wonders.
The image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope has brought NGC 1087 into the spotlight, captivating the minds of space enthusiasts and astronomers alike. Its stunning beauty and intriguing features offer a glimpse into the vast mysteries of the universe, reminding us of the endless wonders that exist beyond our planet.
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