Hubble shows the heart of a barred spiral galaxy

Eye of the Galaxy.


NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, using its two instruments, has captured the image of the heart of a barred spiral galaxy called NGC 1097, also known as Caldwell 67. The galaxy resides 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Fornax.

This image uncovers the intricacy of the web of stars and dust at NGC 1097’s center, with the long tendrils of dust picked out in a dark red hue.

NGC 1097 is also a Seyfert galaxy. It has two satellite galaxies, NGC 1097A and NGC 1097B. Dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 1097A is the larger of the two. NGC 1097A is a peculiar elliptical galaxy that orbits 42,000 light-years from the center of NGC 1097. NGC 1097B is the dwarf galaxy.

NGC 1097 has a supermassive black hole at its center, which is 140 million times the mass of the Sun. Around the central black hole is a glowing ring of star-forming regions. The ring is approximately 5,000 light-years in diameter.

The spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond the ring.

This multicolor image of NGC 1097 is composed of images using seven different filters in total.