Spiral galaxy NGC 1559 is a hotspot for star formation - Earth.com

Spiral galaxy NGC 1559 is a hotspot for star formation

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1559, located around 35 million light-years away in the little-observed southern constellation Reticulum. The image was captured by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. 

“The data featured in this portrait make use of two of Webb’s instruments: the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) and Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam),” noted ESA.

“Here MIRI captures the glow of interstellar dust grains, which trace out the interstellar medium, the fuel for future star formation. NIRCam shows the light from stars, even young stars hidden behind prodigious amounts of dust. NIRCam also captures emission from ionised nebulae around young stars.”

According to ESA, the data was collected by the PHANGS team as part of a program in which Webb will observe 55 galaxies that have also been mapped by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and more. 

“By combining Webb’s unprecedented view of the dust and stars with data from these other facilities, the team aims to obtain a new, highly detailed view of how stars are born, live, and die in galaxies across the Universe,” said ESA.

“NGC 1559 has massive spiral arms that abound with star formation, and it is receding from us at a speed of about 1,300 kilometers per second. Although NGC 1559 appears to sit near one of our nearest neighbors in the sky — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) – this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, NGC 1559 is physically nowhere near the LMC in space; in fact it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster.”

Image Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, A. Leroy, J. Lee and the PHANGS Team


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