Hubble sees an actively star-forming galaxy, NGC 7090

Sep 17, 2012
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—This image portrays a beautiful view of the galaxy NGC 7090, as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is viewed edge-on from the Earth, meaning we cannot easily see the spiral arms, which are full of young, hot stars.

However, a side-on view shows the galaxy's disc and the bulging central core, where typically a large group of cool old stars are packed in a compact, spheroidal region. In addition, there are two interesting features present in the image that are worth mentioning.

First, we are able to distinguish an intricate pattern of pinkish red regions over the whole galaxy. This indicates the presence of clouds of . These structures trace the location of ongoing star formation, visual confirmation of recent studies that classify NGC 7090 as an actively star-forming galaxy.

Second, we observe dust lanes, depicted as dark regions inside the disc of the galaxy. In NGC 7090, these regions are mostly located in lower half of the galaxy, showing an intricate . Looking from the outside in through the whole disc, the light emitted from the bright center of the galaxy is absorbed by the dust, silhouetting the dusty regions against the bright light in the background.

Dust in our galaxy, the Milky Way, has been one of the worst enemies of observational astronomers for decades. But this does not mean that these regions are only blind spots in the sky. At near-—slightly longer wavelengths than visible light—this dust is largely transparent and astronomers are able to study what is really behind it. At still longer wavelengths, the realm of , the dust itself can actually be observed, letting astronomers study the structure and properties of dust clouds and their relationship with star formation.

Lying in the southern constellation of Indus (The Indian), NGC 7090 is located about thirty million light-years from the Sun. Astronomer John Herschel first observed this galaxy on October 4, 1834.

The image was taken using the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the and combines orange light (colored blue here), infrared (colored red) and emissions from glowing hydrogen gas (also in red).

A version of this image of NGC 7090 was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures Image Processing Competition by contestant Rasid Tugral. Hidden Treasures is an initiative to invite astronomy enthusiasts to search the Hubble archive for stunning images that have never been seen by the general public. The competition is now closed and the list of winners is available here.

Explore further: Sky survey of gamma ray sources reveals galactic energy bubbles

Related Stories

Hubble sees the needle galaxy, edge-on and up close

Jul 16, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This image snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exquisitely detailed view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy NGC 4565. This bright galaxy is one of the most famous ...

Hubble spies edge-on beauty

May 21, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Visible in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC 891 is located approximately 30 million light-years away from Earth. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced ...

Hubble spotted a supernova in NGC 5806

Sep 02, 2012

(Phys.org)—A new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 5806, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo (the Virgin). It lies around 80 million light years from Earth. Also visible in ...

Hubble observes a dwarf galaxy with a bright nebula

May 10, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made detailed observations of the dwarf galaxy NGC 2366. While it lacks the elegant spiral arms of many larger galaxies, NGC 2366 is home to a bright, ...

A spiral galaxy in Hydra

Apr 09, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 4980, a spiral galaxy in the southern constellation of Hydra. The shape of NGC 4980 appears slightly deformed, something which is ...

Hubble spies a spiral galaxy edge-on

Apr 02, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the "UFO Galaxy." NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship. This is why the ...

Recommended for you

Gravitational waves according to Planck

6 hours ago

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the Antarctic Observatory, which announced last spring that it ...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

6 hours ago

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help ...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

13 hours ago

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

How gamma ray telescopes work

14 hours ago

Yesterday I talked about the detection of gamma ray bursts, intense blasts of gamma rays that occasionally appear in distant galaxies. Gamma ray bursts were only detected when gamma ray satellites were put ...

The frequency of high-energy gamma ray bursts

16 hours ago

In the 1960s a series of satellites were built as part of Project Vela.  Project Vela was intended to detect violations of the 1963 ban on above ground testing of nuclear weapons.  The Vela satellites were ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2012
The "hydrogen gas" is in fact plasma, as was indicated by plasma physicist Anthony Peratt over 10 years ago. Also, the "intricate filamentary structure" of the dust is due to the fact that this is also plasma, plasma currents, or interstellar birkeland currents that transport the electrical energy which powers the stars in that galaxy.