Mature Galaxy Mesmerizes in New Hubble View

From NASA Image of the Day

June 10, 2019

Galactic maturity

This striking image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a powerful instrument installed on the telescope in 2009. WFC3 is responsible for many of Hubble’s most breathtaking and iconic photographs.

Shown here, NGC 7773 is a beautiful example of a barred spiral galaxy. A luminous bar-shaped structure cuts prominently through the galaxy’s bright core, extending to the inner boundary of NGC 7773’s sweeping, pinwheel-like spiral arms. Astronomers think that these bar structures emerge later in the lifetime of a galaxy, as star-forming material makes its way towards the galactic center — younger spirals do not feature barred structures as often as older spirals do, suggesting that bars are a sign of galactic maturity. They are also thought to act as stellar nurseries, as they gleam brightly with copious numbers of youthful stars.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is thought to be a barred spiral like NGC 7773. By studying galactic specimens such as NGC 7773 throughout the universe, researchers hope to learn more about the processes that have shaped — and continue to shape — our cosmic home.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Walsh

Last Updated: June 10, 2019

Editor: Rob Garner

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Michael F
June 11, 2019 2:17 am

What a wonderful time to be living

R Shearer
Reply to  Michael F
June 11, 2019 5:33 am

They probably have drink box water bottles there.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1138112029309440001

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  R Shearer
June 11, 2019 1:56 pm

Is this a reference to Canada’s single-use Prime minister?

Earthling2
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
June 11, 2019 4:29 pm

Here is the genius PM Trudeau ‘talking’ about drink boxes replacing plastic water bottles

Phil Rae
June 11, 2019 2:58 am

Stunning!👍

Phil Rae
June 11, 2019 2:59 am

Stunning! And, of course, what NASA should be doing. 👍

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Phil Rae
June 11, 2019 3:49 am

I believe your much maligned leader has done just that! At least, I hope he has!

I recently concluded after President Trump’s visit to the UK & Europe, that the lefty protesters lining the streets of London, with their pathetic yet insulting & derogatory protests/placards, against an official state visit by the democratically elected leader of the free world, was of far more importance to them, than respecting & honouring the fallen on the Normandy beaches on 6th June, 1944, D-Day, thus giving said protesters the freedom to carry out such perverted protests!!! I’m certain that A. Hitler (Socialist) would never have tolerated such outrageous behaviour!!!

Javert Chip
Reply to  Alan the Brit
June 11, 2019 4:09 pm

Due to our less than rigorous education system, most of the American’s in that UK protest probably didn’t even know about D-day. If they’d heard the term, they probably suspected it was some internet digital marketing thing.

Note: no sarcasm tag

bonbon
June 11, 2019 3:07 am

Strangely devoid of mass data, and most importantly the estimated central black hole mass.

Jones
June 11, 2019 3:21 am

Catastrophic Galactic Warming should concern us all.

jono1066
Reply to  Jones
June 11, 2019 4:48 am

That’s because black body radiation is the best case and space has a lot of black in it last time I looked so obviously its getting warmer.

James Snook
June 11, 2019 3:46 am

Unbelievable. Does anyone know how far it is away from Earth?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  James Snook
June 11, 2019 4:47 am

Wikipedia is your friend for such non-political issues.

~393 Million light years
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_7773

Full size 5 Mbyte zoomable image available here:
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1922a/

Its a NH sky object at dec +32deg in the Constellation Pegasus. (Not to be confused with Pegasus galaxy which is in our local group).

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  James Snook
June 11, 2019 4:47 am

Wikipedia is your friend for such non-political issues.

~393 Million light years
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_7773

Full size 5 Mbyte zoomable image available here:
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1922a/

Its a NH sky object at dec +32deg in the Constellation Pegasus. (Not to be confused with Pegasus galaxy which is in our local group).

James Snook
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
June 11, 2019 6:41 am

Thanks Joel. That distance is as mind boggling as the image!

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  James Snook
June 11, 2019 8:13 am

That distance is as mind boggling as the image!

Yup, iffen you convert this, “393 Million light years”, to just plain years or miles, ya’ll get a really big number.

Such great distances is why those people “searching” and/or “listening” for ET, ….. have such a narrow, narrow, narrow “window” to be searching through.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 11, 2019 2:03 pm

No, it’s only a third of a GLight Year. The iniverse gets smaller.

The Moon is only 300 Mmeters away. Geostationary satellites a mere 30Mm. The Sun 150Gm.

The Universe has a volume of 1 and a mass of 1, therefore it’s density is 1. (Although there may be some argument about this) 🙂

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 12, 2019 4:04 am

Robert of O, …. I no comprendo what you meant by ……. “No, it’s only a third of a GLight Year. The iniverse gets smaller.

Iffen it means what I think it means, ……. I’ll probably disagree with you.

So I would appreciate if you would offer your explanation of it, to me.

Sam C

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 14, 2019 7:09 am

“No, it’s only a third of a GLight Year. The iniverse gets smaller.”
____________________________________________________________

No:

No, the planck constant remains unchanged – otherwise the quantum mechanic would not work and we would not be here to marvel at a workable universe.

So the planck constant still is

https://www.google.com/search?q=planck+constant&oq=planck+constant&aqs=chrome.

and you have to try hard to produce another “witty, convincing” comment.

Johanus
June 11, 2019 3:54 am

I think I can see an Earth-like planet spinning around the star on the right. No not that one, the one next to it.

R Shearer
Reply to  Johanus
June 11, 2019 5:22 am

Some civilization there is probably fracking and approaching peak oil and ruining their environment, thus demonstrating how wide-reaching the impacts of carbon pollution are.

Bryan A
Reply to  Johanus
June 11, 2019 12:15 pm

I thought perhaps you were referring to the Second Star

June 11, 2019 4:19 am

No other species on Earth could launch Hubble and figure out what is seen in in its transmission. No snake, insect, Golden Eagle, worm, amphibian, or fish.

So what species on Earth needs protection from extinction? The one reading these words!!!

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  tomwys
June 11, 2019 10:20 am

And it was the intelligence of humans in developing and utilizing fossil fuels that enabled them to achieve this level of civilization and such an accomplishment. Plus the pure luck of having just the right timing to experience civilization (resulting in the Anthropocene) within the early stage of the current Holocene epoch, marked by Earth NATURALLY existing the last global glacial period!

Let’s not forget our history.

WXcycles
June 11, 2019 4:32 am

This one’s my all-time favorite, it’s also a ‘local-group’ galaxy, only 20 million light years away.

https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1302a/

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  WXcycles
June 11, 2019 6:52 am

That one certainly makes the top ten list, at the very least.

beng135
Reply to  WXcycles
June 11, 2019 9:03 am

Thanks for that one — it’s a real star-factory.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
June 11, 2019 4:42 am

We really must persuade the universe’s stars to stop burning all those fossil Hydrogen fuel and warming things up, electric unicorn power is what they should be using. Hmm, something oddly familiar here…

Hocus Locus
June 11, 2019 4:52 am

Allow yourself to be mesmerized by the perfect galaxy, but keep one hand on your wallet.

Tom Abbott
June 11, 2019 5:26 am

We live in a fantastic universe of spectacular beauty. Hubble keeps on giving!

Our views of the universe are just going to get better in the future, too, as bigger telescopes are on the way. A great time to be alive!

beng135
June 11, 2019 6:38 am

Center bar-area is almost like a quiescent lenticular galaxy, but then surrounded by gas-rich, star-forming arms.

bwegher
June 11, 2019 9:00 am

NGC 7773 has a certain charm, but who can deny the stunning visual feast of when twilight falls on NGC 891

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120526.html

beng135
Reply to  bwegher
June 12, 2019 6:49 am

What the Andromeda/Milky Way merge results might look like in 5 billions yrs or so — NGC 5128:
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap151119.html

Sara
June 11, 2019 9:30 am

I love this stuff. It truly puts things into perspective.

Gordon Dressler
June 11, 2019 10:51 am

SPOILER ALERT: Almost every photo obtained by Hubble and released to the public (as with those from almost every telescope on Earth) have been highly enhanced for color . . . they are not at all what would be seen by the human eye at an equivalent distance yielding the same image perspective (FoV).

In some case the color enhancement (aka “false color”) is not just of the visible spectrum, but artificially imposed to clarify certain radiating emission sources (gases) or to scale emission energies or to encompass EM emissions beyond the small segment called “visible light.”

Knowing all that, I still stand in amazement that humans have such capacity to image the universe so far into the past.

I believe the current most-distant object imaged is 13.4 gigalight-years away, about “only” 407 million years after the Big Bang (if our current cosmological modeling is correct) —Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_most_distant_astronomical_objects

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon Dressler
June 11, 2019 12:24 pm

You are correct in that every image from Hubble is Processed for noise reduction, colored for representation of certain elements (Hubble Palette), or digitally enhanced by other means. All you need to do to realize the limitations of the human eye vs the light Hubble can capture is to go outside at night under a dark sky and look up.
Also many Hubble images, especially the “Deep Field” and “Ultra Deep Field” images are from millions of hours of light gathering time. The human eye processes not more than 1/30th of a second of light at a time before automatically refreshing the image.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Bryan A
June 11, 2019 4:02 pm

Bryan A, thanks for your reply.

As you likely know, in December 1993, Shuttle astronauts serviced Hubble to insert the COSTAR instrument to correct the optical system AND to insert WFPC 2 (“the camera that saved Hubble”) and those two things enabled all the praiseworthy imagery from Hubble since. That Hubble repair/upgrade mission happened about 224,000 hours ago.

Therefore, I will assume your reference to “millions of hours of light gathering time” to obtain certain Hubble images is gross poetic license on your part.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon Dressler
June 11, 2019 8:09 pm

Absolutely, the HUDF image is a mixture of 4 separate light gathering sessions totaling a little less than 985,000 seconds rather than hours. But after all isn’t the core of the Earth Millions of degrees? 😉

Olen
June 11, 2019 12:02 pm

How bright is the light in the center and how large is its source? Or what is the source?

whiten
June 11, 2019 2:37 pm

If I got to be a bit nasty with this, from my own prospective point;
This Galaxy, is nothing like looking as “mature” or “matured”,
as far as I can tell, from my little silly view point…within the consideration of the info provided.

Compared to the Milky Way, looks more like a “child” Galaxy, not even a “teenager”
one yet… as per the point of observation.

But hey, any Dark Matter, thingy, there yet to be contemplated in the consideration of such as a Galaxy…??!!
Milky Way one has a lot, a lot lot such “thingy”…there!

What is the best stand of the PhD egg heads given in this one!!

But anyway, from my simpleton view point, whatever there be, no any clause of “maturity”
to be seriously considered as per means of given…in relation of how this Galaxy “looks” in the “screen”… according to the information given.

Still to me it looks more like a “baby” Galaxy! … From the outset of depiction.

Just saying.

cheers

joel
June 11, 2019 5:34 pm

Let’s go!

RTW
June 11, 2019 7:13 pm

I thought I spotted a black hole at the center of the galaxy, but it turned out to be a speck of dust on my monitor.

Robert of Texas
June 11, 2019 8:01 pm

I have never understood the bar structure…the spirals make sense (a shock wave moving through a swirling non-uniform medium, but the bar? How the heck can a bar exist in a swirling gas where the speed of the medium should be related to the distance from the center?

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 11, 2019 8:12 pm

A type of Lagrange gravity pocket relative to the action at the core might be a possibility

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 12, 2019 8:09 am

The bar “structure” could be the optical illusion of a disk-like concentration of material/stars viewed at an angle. Why this would exist at an angle to the plane of the outer spiral arms is unknown . . . perhaps it is a remnant of an early-on merger of two galaxies, before the formation of the much larger (and presumably younger) plane of the visible spiral arms.

beng135
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 12, 2019 9:17 am

Robert says:
I have never understood the bar structure

Read that it could be caused by dust/gas blown out the the central bulge early on by the quasar phase, but not enough to escape, so that after billions of yrs the gas/dust very gradually falls back to the galaxy and fed inward slowly along the “bar” somehow. Galaxies like ellipticals prb’ly blew away their gas/dust so violently that it has never yet returned.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  beng135
June 12, 2019 10:27 am

Since almost all galaxies are observed to have rotation, any gas/dust “very gradually falling back” toward the core would be expected to evidence a spiral, not linear, geometry.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon Dressler
June 12, 2019 11:07 pm

But a force at the center, pushing outward, might.

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 12, 2019 11:05 pm

Another slightly scarier possibility would be that the beast at the center, the super massive Black Hole, is lying on its side relative to the apparent spin of the Galaxy and is developing jets that are funneling out of it’s sideways oriented poles.

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