Swirling galaxies have always left astronomers in awe of their beauty. Recently, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has released images of the spiral galaxy known as IC 1954 that contains a breathtaking celestial gem that is helping researchers further understand star manifestation from swirling clouds of cold gas.
What Are Spiral Galaxies?
Spiral Galaxies, according to Space, are twisted collections of gas and stars that are commonly composed of hot young stars. Spiral galaxies are among the most common and recently discovered galaxies by scientists compared to elliptical and irregular galaxies.
One great example of a spiral galaxy is our own Milky Way. These types of galaxies make up about 72% of the galaxies that have been observed by researchers, according to a 2010 survey by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Most of these discovered spiral galaxies have a central bulge engulfed by a rotating disk of stars. The central bulge is composed of dimmer, older stars and is theorized to contain a supermassive black hole. Roughly ⅔ of spiral galaxies contain a bar structure through its center, even the Milky Way.
Understanding NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
According to NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit in April 1990 by the Discovery space shuttle. Hubble now circles the Earth at a distance of around 547 kilometers. It's the length of a huge school bus and weighs as much as two elephants when fully grown. The Hubble Space Telescope moves at a speed of around five miles per second.
The Hubble was launched into space to beat some Earth telescope challenges that hindered our understanding of the cosmos. Earth's atmosphere is known for blocking and altering light that comes from the vacuums of space. With the Hubble orbiting high above the atmosphere, it provides a better and clearer view of the universe that would otherwise be impossible on Earth.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is equipped with Fine Guidance Sensors that help the telescope lock onto stars.
Hubble's Newly Released Images of Mysterious Gem in a Spiral Galaxy
By combining and contrasting highly detailed images of the spiral galaxy with radio data collected by the Chilean Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, researchers can now piece together an even clearer picture of the formation of stars, reports Mashable.
IC1954 is about 45 million light-years from our mudrock situated in the Horologium constellation. Luckily, Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 was strong enough to absorb both visible and ultraviolet light emitted from the galaxy, with long exposures resulting in the dazzling images we have today.
As the galaxy spins, the gasses and dust inside continuously collide and form into stars, while leftover materials become planets, satellites, asteroid belts, and other celestial bodies across space.
The recent observation sets the stage for the much-awaited James Webb Space Telescope, a collaborative effort from the Canadian Space Agency, ESA, and NASA set to launch later this year. It is slated to become the biggest and most technologically advanced space telescope in our history.
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