Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Hubble captured a barred spiral galaxy

A spectacular spiral.

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope recently snapped an image of a barred spiral galaxy called M91. Also known as NGC 4548 or Messier 91, the galaxy is located approximately 55 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices.

Its bar is very conspicuous and makes for a spectacular galactic portrait. It also hides an astronomical monstrosity.

Like Milky Way, M91 contains a supermassive black hole at its center. Its black hole has 9.6 and 38 million times as much as the Sun.

This observation is part of an effort to build a treasure trove of astronomical data exploring the connections between young stars and the clouds of cold gas they form. To do this, astronomers used Hubble to obtain ultraviolet and visible observations of galaxies already seen at radio wavelengths by the ground-based Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.

Messier 91 is also classified as an anemic galaxy, a spiral galaxy with little star formation and gas compared with other galaxies of its type.

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