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6/9/2024 10:07:36 AM
Hubble observes the illumination of a galactic bar
Hubble Space Telescope,Barred spiral galaxy,NGC 4731,Virgo constellation,Star-forming regions,Dark dust bands,Galactic bar,Trailing spiral arms,Space observation,ESA
Hubble observes the illumination of a galactic bar


Hubble observes the illumination of a galactic bar

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Richard Harris Richard Harris

The latest image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope unveils the stunning barred spiral galaxy NGC 4731, located 43 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. This detailed image, captured using six different filters, highlights vibrant star-forming regions, dark dust bands, and the prominent central bar with its trailing spiral arms.

This latest image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope unveils the expansive barred spiral galaxy NGC 4731. Located in the Virgo constellation, about 43 million light-years from Earth, the image highlights the galaxy's intricate details using data from six distinct filters. The vibrant colors reveal billowing gas clouds, dark dust bands, bright pink star-forming regions, and the prominent, glowing bar with its trailing spiral arms.

Image from the Hubble Space Telescope unveils the intricate features of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 4731

Barred spiral galaxies, making up about 60% of all galaxies, outnumber regular spirals and elliptical galaxies combined. The bar structure forms from the alignment of star and gas orbits within the galaxy, creating a dense region through which individual stars pass over time. This is similar to the formation of spiral arms but is more complex for bars. Mature spiral galaxies tend to develop bars at their centers, contributing to the high number of barred spirals observed today. However, bars can dissipate if the mass along the bar becomes unstable. The patterns of orbits and gravitational interactions that maintain the bar also channel matter and energy inward, fueling star formation. The observing program focusing on NGC 4731 aims to explore this matter flow within galaxies.

The spiral arms of NGC 4731 extend well beyond the confines of this detailed Hubble image. Astronomers believe the elongated arms result from gravitational interactions with nearby galaxies in the Virgo cluster.

Text Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

Click here to download the full image.


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