Hubble snaps close-up of NGC 1087


The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shot this image of a barred spiral galaxy called NGC 1087.

This Hubble image shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1087.  Image credits: NASA / ESA / Hubble / R Chander, University of Toledo / Jay Lee, Space Telescope Science Institute / Gladys Kober, NASA and Catholic University of America.

This Hubble image shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1087. Image credits: NASA / ESA / Hubble / R Chander, University of Toledo / Jay Lee, Space Telescope Science Institute / Gladys Kober, NASA and Catholic University of America.

NGC 1087 is a barred spiral galaxy located approximately 80 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus.

Also known as IRAS 02438-0042, LEDA 10496 and UGC 2245, it has a diameter of approximately 87,000 light-years, a very small nucleus and a very short stellar bar.

Unlike most barred spiral galaxies, there is little new star formation in the Milky Way.

“The galaxy’s dust lanes, visible in dark red, help define its spiral structure,” Hubble astronomers said.

“Its stellar bar – the elongated, bright-white structure at the galaxy’s center – is also small compared to other barred galaxies.”

“Typically, in barred galaxies, the gravity of the center pulls in large amounts of gas, leading to star formation followed by a slow decay.”

“Uniquely, NGC 1087 shows signs of new star formation, making it a subject of particular interest to scientists.”

NGC 1087 was discovered on 9 October 1785 by William Herschel, a German-born British astronomer.

It is located near the M77 galaxy cluster, a small group of galaxies that also includes NGC 936, NGC 1055, and NGC 1090.

However, due to its distance, NGC 1087 is probably not a true member of this group.

“NGC 1087 is located just south of the celestial equator, making it visible from both hemispheres,” the astronomers said.

They observed NGC 1087 to study the relationship between young stars and cold gas, and specifically to determine what happens to gaseous regions after they form within the star.

“In 1995, astronomers discovered a Type II supernova within this galaxy,” he said.

“A Type II supernova occurs when a massive star uses all of its nuclear fuel and its iron core collapses, then explodes.”

“Named SN 1995V, it is the only supernova ever observed in this galaxy.”

“In the new ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared light image from Hubble, the dark red streaks are cold molecular gas, the raw material from which stars form,” he said.

“Bright pink spots indicate regions where new stars are forming, characterized by the presence of ionized hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur.”

“The blue areas contain hot, young stars formed earlier in the lifetime of this galaxy.”


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