Pointy stars and peculiar galaxies span this cosmic snapshot, a telescopic view toward the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Bright enough to show off diffraction spikes, the stars are in the foreground of the scene, well within our own Milky Way. But the two prominent galaxies lie far beyond our own, some 41 million light-years distant. Also known as NGC 4747, the smaller distorted galaxy at left is the 159th entry in the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, with extensive tidal tails indicative of strong gravitational interactions in its past. At about a 100,000 light-years across, its likely companion on the right is the much larger NGC 4725. At first glance NGC 4725 appears to be a normal spiral galaxy, its central region dominated by the yellowish light of cool, older stars giving way to younger hot blue star clusters along dusty spiral outskirts. Still, NGC 4725 does look a little odd with only one main spiral arm.
Bursts of pink and red, dark lanes of mottled cosmic dust, and a bright scattering of stars — this Hubble Space Telescope image shows part of a messy barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 428. It lies approximately 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster).
campainha-azul (Porphyrospiza caerulescens) Blue Finch by Claudio Marcio Lopes Via Flickr: Local: Serra São José - Santa Cruz de Minas (MG).
Lei do Direito Autoral nº 9.610, de 19 de Fevereiro de 1998: proibe a reprodução ou divulgação com fins comerciais ou não, em qualquer meio de comunicação, inclusive na Internet, sem prévia consulta e aprovação do autor.
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Centaurus A or NGC 5128 is a prominent galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus. NGC 5128 is one of the closest radio galaxies to Earth, so its active galactic nucleus has been extensively studied by professional astronomers. The galaxy is also the fifth brightest in the sky, making it an ideal amateur astronomy target, although the galaxy is only visible from low northern latitudes and the southern hemisphere.
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope 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 Méchain in 1781, and added to Charles Messier’s famous catalogue of astronomical objects just four days later.
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 is unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the galactic centre. 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).
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and the LEGUS Team; Acknowledgement: R. Gendler