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Hubble Space Telescope Focuses on NGC 5486

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Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured an amazing photo of the irregular spiral galaxy NGC 5486.

This Hubble image shows NGC 5486, an irregular spiral galaxy located 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / C. Kilpatrick.

NGC 5486 is located approximately 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major.

“Constellations are not only patterns of bright stars, but also a system that astronomers use to divide the sky into regions,” Hubble astronomers said in a statement.

“There are 88 of these regions, and each has an associated constellation depicting a mythological figure, an animal, or even an item of scientific equipment.”

“This strange celestial menagerie contains everything from Ursa Major’s great bear to a toucan, a sea monster, a telescope, and even a painter’s easel.”

NGC 5486 was discovered by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel on April 14, 1789.

Otherwise known as IRAS 14056+5520, LEDA 50383, TC 537 and UGC 9036, it is classified as an irregular spiral galaxy.

NGC 5486 is a member of the NGC 5485 group (LGG 373), a group of at least 8 spiral and lenticular galaxies.

“The tenuous disk of NGC 5486 is threaded through with pink wisps of star formation, which stand out from the diffuse glow of the galaxy’s bright core,” the astronomers said.

“While this particular galaxy has indistinct, meandering spiral arms it lies close to the much larger Pinwheel galaxy, one of the best known examples of grand design spiral galaxies with prominent and well-defined spiral arms.”

“In 2006, Hubble captured an image of the Pinwheel galaxy which was — at the time — the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever taken with Hubble.”

The color image of NGC 5486 was made from separate exposures taken in the visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

Two filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter.

“This observation comes from a selection of Hubble images exploring the detritus left behind by Type II supernovae,” the researchers said.

“As massive stars reach the end of their lives they cast off huge amounts of gas and dust before ending their lives in titanic supernova explosions.”

“NGC 5486 hosted a supernova in 2004, and astronomers used the keen vision of Hubble’s ACS instrument to explore the aftermath in the hopes of learning more about these explosive events.”

Source : Breaking Science News

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