NGC 4424 and LEDA 213994

The NGC and its modern counterpart

This Hubble image shows NGC 4424 and LEDA 213994.

The largest galaxy visible in the in the image is NGC 4424. The magnitude +11.7 galaxy is located 30 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo (The Virgin).

LEDA 213994, magnitude +15.5, is the smaller and flatter galaxy that appears below NGC 4424.

A magnitude +17.7 star (USNOA2 0975-06963766) appears in the lower center of the image.

In 2012, a Type Ia Supernova was observed by astronomers in NGC 4424. The supernova was dubbed SN 2012cg. You can view ground-based images of SN 2012cg here.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA

A Cosmic 9/11 Memorial

A Cosmic 9/11 Memorial

The above image was created using real images captured by Hubble. On the left is NGC 3310, a galaxy with extremely active star formation. In the center is the SN 1006 remnant, a thin section from the leftovers of a supernova from a 1006 A.D. supernova event. On the right is IRAS 18059-3211, a sun-like star near the end of its life.

Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble/@ObservingSpace

Hubble Sees Spiral in Serpens

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a beautiful spiral galaxy known as PGC 54493, located in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent). This galaxy is part of a galaxy cluster that has been studied by astronomers exploring an intriguing phenomenon known as weak gravitational lensing.

This effect, caused by the uneven distribution of matter (including dark matter) throughout the Universe, has been explored via surveys such as the Hubble Medium Deep Survey. Dark matter is one of the great mysteries in cosmology. It behaves very differently from ordinary matter as it does not emit or absorb light or other forms of electromagnetic energy — hence the term “dark.”

Even though we cannot observe dark matter directly, we know it exists. One prominent piece of evidence for the existence of this mysterious matter is known as the “galaxy rotation problem.” Galaxies rotate at such speeds and in such a way that ordinary matter alone — the stuff we see — would not be able to hold them together. The amount of mass that is “missing” visibly is dark matter, which is thought to make up some 27 percent of the total contents of the Universe, with dark energy and normal matter making up the rest. PGC 55493 has been studied in connection with an effect known as cosmic shearing. This is a weak gravitational lensing effect that creates tiny distortions in images of distant galaxies.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Hubble Looks at Light and Dark in the Universe

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a variety of intriguing cosmic phenomena.

Surrounded by bright stars, towards the upper middle of the frame we see a small young stellar object (YSO) known as SSTC2D J033038.2+303212. Located in the constellation of Perseus, this star is in the early stages of its life and is still forming into a fully-grown star. In this view from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys(ACS) it appears to have a murky chimney of material emanating outwards and downwards, framed by bright bursts of gas flowing from the star itself. This fledgling star is actually surrounded by a bright disk of material swirling around it as it forms — a disc that we see edge-on from our perspective.

However, this small bright speck is dwarfed by its cosmic neighbor towards the bottom of the frame, a clump of bright, wispy gas swirling around as it appears to spew dark material out into space. The bright cloud is a reflection nebula known as [B77] 63, a cloud of interstellar gas that is reflecting light from the stars embedded within it. There are actually a number of bright stars within [B77] 63, most notably the emission-line star LkHA 326, and it nearby neighbor LZK 18.

These stars are lighting up the surrounding gas and sculpting it into the wispy shape seen in this image. However, the most dramatic part of the image seems to be a dark stream of smoke piling outwards from [B77] 63 and its stars — a dark nebula called Dobashi 4173. Dark nebulae are incredibly dense clouds of pitch-dark material that obscure the patches of sky behind them, seemingly creating great rips and eerily empty chunks of sky. The stars speckled on top of this extreme blackness actually lie between us and Dobashi 4173.

Credit: ESA/NASA