Hubble captures a spiral galaxy in high resolution. Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features a remarkably detailed view of the spiral galaxy NGC 5643 in the constellation of Lupus.
The stunning photo was made possible through nine hours of observation obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, combined with the instrument’s high resolution and clarity.
According to the ESA, the spiral galaxy is about 60 million light years away from Earth and recently hosted a supernova event in which a white dwarf gained so much mass from a companion star that it became unstable and exploded.
A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias (γαλαξίας), literally “milky”, a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million (108) stars to giants with one hundred trillion (1014) stars, each orbiting its galaxy’s center of mass.
Galaxies are categorized according to their visual morphology as elliptical, spiral, or irregular. Many galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their centers. The Milky Way’s central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, has a mass four million times greater than the Sun.As of March 2016, GN-z11 is the oldest and most distant observed galaxy with a comoving distance of 32 billion light-years from Earth, and observed as it existed just 400 million years after the Big Bang.
Image Credit: ESA