NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures a spectacular spiral of the galaxy NGC 1961
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST, for its acronym in English), launched into orbit on April 24, 1990 and possibly the most iconic instrument in space exploration, has offered spectacular images of the universe and all the celestial objects that surround the Earth .
Throughout 2022, we’ve seen Hubble and the modern James Webb Telescope deliver memorable pictures of outer space. Recently, the HST managed to capture an incomparable spiral coming from a distant galaxy.
It is the galaxy NGC 1961, which in the impressive image unfolds its magnificent spiral arms. “Brilliant blue regions of bright young stars dot the dusty spiral arms that wind around the galaxy’s glowing center”, describes NASA on its website.
What exactly is NGC 1961?
NGC 1961 is an intermediate spiral and a type of AGN galaxy, also known as active galactic nuclei. This type of spiral is found between the “barred” and “unbarred” spiral galaxies, which means that they do not have a well-defined star bar at their centers.
AGN galaxies have very bright centers that often outshine the rest of the galaxy at certain wavelengths of light. These galaxies are likely have supermassive black holes at their cores that produce bright jets and winds that shape their evolution.
The data used to create this image comes from two proposals, one that studied previously unobserved Arp galaxies, while the other looked at the progenitors and explosions of a variety of supernovae.
Located about 180 million light years awayNGC 1961 resides in the constellation Camelopardalis and is a fairly common type of AGN that emits low-energy charged particles, which will be the subject of further study by astronomers.