Hubble peers into the heart of a galactic maelstrom

Date:

Share post:

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows Messier 96, a spiral galaxy just over 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). It is of about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Mechain in 1781, and added to Charles Messier’s famous catalogue of astronomical objects just four days later.

Hubble peers into the heart of a galactic maelstrom
Messier 96 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and the LEGUS Team,
 Acknowledgement: R. Gendler]

The galaxy resembles a giant maelstrom of glowing gas, rippled with dark dust that swirls inwards towards the nucleus. Messier 96 is a very asymmetric galaxy; its dust and gas are unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the galactic center. Its arms are also asymmetrical, thought to have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the same group as Messier 96.

This group, named the M96 Group, also includes the bright galaxies Messier 105 and Messier 95, as well as a number of smaller and fainter galaxies. It is the nearest group containing both bright spirals and a bright elliptical galaxy (Messier 105).

Source: NASA [September 10, 2015]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Archaeology program unearths historical Valley treasures

As graduate student Sandra Salinas drew a soil auger, a geological tool used to collect soil samples, from...

400-metre asteroid flyby due in early November

A 1300-foot-wide (400 metres) asteroid, which is more than one and a half times the length of a...

8 million year old Hyena skull found in Turkey

The skull of hyena believed to be 8 million years old has been discovered by researchers in an...

Rising temperatures are curbing ocean’s capacity to store carbon

If there is anywhere for carbon dioxide to disappear in large quantities from the atmosphere, it is into...

Decline of Bronze Age ‘megacities’ linked to climate change

Climate change may have contributed to the decline of a city-dwelling civilization in Pakistan and India 4,100 years...

Medieval Arab mansion unearthed in Israel

The remains of an affluent estate that had a fountain in its garden were recently unearthed during the...

Researchers seek new answers at Kelly Creek dig

Archaeological digs along the lower Salmon and North Fork Clearwater rivers are expanding what scientists know about the...

Unique 4D microscope captures motion of DNA structures in space and time

Every great structure, from the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, depends on specific mechanical properties...