NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers ‘feathered spiral’ galaxy 67 mn light years away - Hindustan Times
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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers ‘feathered spiral’ galaxy 67 mn light years away

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Anubha Rohatgi
Jul 07, 2020 05:16 PM IST

Classified as a “floucculent” (or fluffy-looking) spiral galaxy, the spiral arms indicate that the galaxy hasn’t formed any stars for a while.

The Hubble Space Telescope recently spotted a “feathered spiral” galaxy in deep space.

Image of galaxy NGC 2775 which was recently spotted by Hubble Space Telescope.(ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team ; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla))
Image of galaxy NGC 2775 which was recently spotted by Hubble Space Telescope.(ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team ; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla))

NASA and ESA released an image of the galaxy known as NGC 2775 which is located 67 million light years away in the constellation of Cancer.

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A light year, which measures distance in space, is equivalent to 5.9 trillion miles or 9.5 trillion km.

The spiral pattern shown by the galaxy is striking because of its delicate, feathery nature, according to a statement on NASA website.

Classified as a “floucculent” (or fluffy-looking) spiral galaxy, the spiral arms indicate that the galaxy hasn’t formed any stars for a while. “There is virtually no star formation in the central part of the galaxy, which is dominated by an unusually large and relatively empty galactic bulge, where all the gas was converted into stars long ago,” NASA added.

“Millions of bright, young, blue stars shine in the complex, feather-like spiral arms, interlaced with dark lanes of dust. Complexes of these hot, blue stars are thought to trigger star formation in nearby gas clouds. The overall feather-like spiral patterns of the arms are then formed by shearing of the gas clouds as the galaxy rotates”, said the NASA statement.

Launched in 1990, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope travels around Earth at about 5 miles per second. It has taken pictures of planets, stars and galaxies, seen stars being born and die and observed galaxies that are trillions of miles away. During its 30 year journey, the telescope has observed comets, spotted black holes and helped scientists learn more about explosions that happen when huge stars burn out.

It will ultimately replaced by another space telescope being built by NASA. Called the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s successor will be bigger, more powerful and complex.

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