A brand new picture reveals a wide ranging galaxy as you’ve gotten by no means seen it earlier than.

Not solely is the picture completely spectacular, it is scientifically priceless: By learning the galaxy’s mild throughout a number of wavelengths, scientists can acquire a greater understanding of star formation and evolution processes.


The galaxy in query is an object referred to as NGC 4254, or Messier 99; the brand new seize reveals it throughout a number of spectra of sunshine, due to the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) on ESO’s Very Giant Telescope.

All galaxies are particular, however NGC 4254, situated round 50 million light-years from the Milky Method, belongs to a subset deemed spectacular amongst spectacular, like an albino peacock: a “grand design” spiral galaxy.

It is a spiral galaxy with distinguished, well-formed and visual spiral arms; nearly the platonic preferrred of what a spiral galaxy ought to appear to be, in contrast to a flocculent spiral galaxy, with fluffy, patchy and damaged arms.

ngc 4254 hubble imageHubble’s seen mild picture of NCG 4254. (NASA/ESA/Hubble/Janice Lee/Leo Shatz)

Nonetheless, by way of the attention of MUSE, NGC 4254 turns into quite a bit fluffier, because it reveals the interstellar fuel ionized by new child stars. Though the galaxy is not birthing stars at a fee excessive sufficient to categorize it as a starburst galaxy, its exercise is thrice increased than the common for galaxies of its kind.

Astronomers suppose this may very well be due to an interplay with one other galaxy, tens of millions of years in the past. The clue to help this lies with certainly one of NGC 4254’s spiral arms, which appears looser and extra prolonged than the opposite.

This historical interplay would have perturbed NGC 4254, inflicting sufficient compression in its molecular fuel to set off heightened star formation exercise.

ngc 4254 muse multi wavelength insetThe brand new MUSE picture of NGC 4354. (ESO/PHANGS)

Regardless of the trigger, its comparatively shut proximity to the Milky Method, and the angle at which we are able to view it, mix to make NGC 4254 a superb instance for learning star formation processes.

The MUSE picture was taken as a part of the Physics at Excessive Angular decision in Close by GalaxieS (PHANGS) challenge, which takes high-resolution, multi-wavelength photos of close by galaxies so as to examine your complete cycle of how stars are born.

You possibly can obtain wallpaper-sized variations of the brand new picture from the ESO web site.


By 24H

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