July 14, 2024
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Spiral galaxy NGC 1398 | Earth Blog

Spiral galaxy NGC 1398

This image shows spectacular ribbons of gas and dust enveloping the pearly center of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1398. This galaxy is located in the constellation Fornax (El Horno), approximately 65 million light years away.

Instead of starting at the center of the galaxy and spinning outward, NGC 1398's elegant spiral arms emerge from a straight bar, made up of stars, that runs through the central region of the galaxy. The majority of spiral galaxies (about two-thirds) are noted to have this feature, but it is still unclear if and how these bars affect the behavior and development of a galaxy.

This image comprises data collected by the FOcal Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph 2 (FORS2) instrument, mounted on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory, Chile. It shows NGC 1398 in striking detail, from the dark lanes of dust speckling its spiral arms to the pink-hued star-forming regions scattered across its outer regions.

This image was created as part of ESO's Cosmic Gems programme, an outreach initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually appealing objects using ESO telescopes, for educational and public outreach purposes. The program uses telescope time that cannot be used for scientific observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes and is made available to astronomers through the ESO science archive.

Image credit: ESO
Explanation from: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1801a/

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