Hubble sees a wanderer dancing the dance of stars and space

Jan 02, 2013
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides us this week with a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.

The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.

NGC 1097 is also pretty exciting for supernova hunters. The galaxy experienced three supernovae (the violent deaths of high-mass stars) in the 11-year span between 1992 and 2003. This is definitely a galaxy worth checking on a regular basis.

However, what it is really exciting about NGC 1097 is that it is not wandering alone through space. It has two small galaxy companions, which dance "the dance of stars and the dance of space" like the gracious dancer of the famous poem The Dancer by Khalil Gibran.

The are NGC 1097A, an orbiting 42 000 light-years from the center of NGC 1097 and a small named NGC 1097B. Both galaxies are located out beyond the frames of this image and they cannot be seen. Astronomers have indications that NGC 1097 and NGC 1097A have interacted in the past.

This picture was taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys using visual and infrared filters.

Explore further: Magnetar discovered close to supernova remnant Kesteven 79

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Lurker2358
2 / 5 (4) Jan 02, 2013
Stars near the tails and edges of spiral bands are red, while the others are blue. I wonder what forces cause these stars to apparently form sooner or be more massive and burn out faster?

Alternatively, a more massive star may either consume or blow away that much material in it's life span so that it vacates that much space around itself, but that doesn't answer the question of why the red ones show up along specific lines or in specific quadrants of the galaxy more so than others...
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 02, 2013
Maybe, just maybe, the theories surrounding the life cycle of stars is wrong and whether a star is blue or red or brown has nothing to do with the age of the star. I know this is heresy, but a scientist must consider such reasoning, as well as other alternatives.
antialias_physorg
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 02, 2013
I know this is heresy, but a scientist must consider such reasoning

Erm. What you are doing is not 'reasoning'. Reasoning means that you have a REASON for making a statement - i.e. at the very least a reasonable sounding cause or, even better, an observable discrepancy with the thing you're trying to find an alternative to.

Just making the statement "maybe it ain't so" is not reasoning. It's not even heresy. That's just a random blurb.
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 02, 2013
There is plenty of evidence for such reasoning.

http://phys.org/n...ern.html

http://phys.org/n...ars.html

http://phys.org/n...ung.html

http://phys.org/n...ion.html

Denials come in "random blurbs" as well.
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 02, 2013
whether a star is blue or red or brown has nothing to do with the age of the star.


You might be coming on to an epiphany,,,, the color has nothing to do with the age of the star. The color is determined by the temperature. (Brown is not a color, it's just a loose "term".)
Q-Star
3 / 5 (6) Jan 02, 2013
Stars near the tails and edges of spiral bands are red, while the others are blue. I wonder what forces cause these stars to apparently form sooner or be more massive and burn out faster?


Uh, well, maybe, just maybe it's because there is less star forming matter out in those areas? The leading edges of the spirals are where you can find the most active star forming regions.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jan 02, 2013
whether a star is blue or red or brown has nothing to do with the age of the star.


You might be coming on to an epiphany,,,, the color has nothing to do with the age of the star. The color is determined by the temperature. (Brown is not a color, it's just a loose "term".)


Yes, but according to standard theory, blue or yellow stars are younger than red stars, correct?
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 02, 2013
Yes, but according to standard theory, blue or yellow stars are younger than red stars, correct?


The better way to look at it is that very hot stars don't burn as long as not so hot stars, so they don't stick around as long, they use up their fuel more quickly,,,, so if you see one it's likely to have not been around as long as less hot star that is less profligate in it's fusion.

A trio of your champions wrote some very good papers on it,,, Burbidges and Hoyle.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2013
Stars near the tails and edges of spiral bands are red, while the others are blue. I wonder what forces cause these stars to apparently form sooner or be more massive and burn out faster?


Uh, well, maybe, just maybe it's because there is less star forming matter out in those areas? The leading edges of the spirals are where you can find the most active star forming regions.


Stars should form sooner where there is more material available, therefore stars in the center should be "oldest" both relative to life cycle and relative to the galaxy's age, and therefore burn out faster.

The opposite is apparent from the image.
Q-Star
3 / 5 (4) Jan 02, 2013
Stars should form sooner where there is more material available, therefore stars in the center should be "oldest" both relative to life cycle and relative to the galaxy's age, and therefore burn out faster.

The opposite is apparent from the image.


The relative abundance of "red" older stars is because any "blue" stars have completed their life cycle and are gone. Such as in the galactic center, the leading edges of the spirals are the places where star forming matter "bunches up" so you see younger, newer stars forming there.

Google up "density wave theory (or model)",,
Q-Star
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2013
The opposite is apparent from the image.


Just curious,,,, are you conflating the colors of the stars with the apparent colors of the surrounding interstellar medium? As cantdrive would say: The "hot gas and dust clouds"?
LED Guy
5 / 5 (4) Jan 02, 2013
@Cantdrive:

You say there is a problem with theories that blue stars are younger, but then you post links that explain blue stragglers.

Two old stars merge and form a larger, hotter (and bluer) star. This isn't anything new. The theory/explaination has been around for some time, so what needs to be revised?
Gigel
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
Quite clear images are posted on Wikipedia: http://en.wikiped...NGC_1097
1parsec29
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2013
I think "You/we can`t see the forest for the trees". I mean, there is parallel cause between star formation in galaxy and the galaxy itself with its surrounding enviroment.. expl.: galaxy group. There are some "missing pixels" from the full picture of understanding star formations anyway I think.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Jan 04, 2013
No, what is really exciting is trying to explain those super-extended spiral arms in a condensation model of galactic evolution. So stars just fall down the arms toward the center? Nonsense. (Want a buy a used car?)

No, it is further evidence for the reverse: Matter expelled from the core region, growing into stars over time. The denser regions are even noticeable toward the outskirts, where new stars have grown larger over time, expelling new matter therefrom themselves, increasing the density of these outer arm regions.

Say it ain't so! Just too hard for a lazy brain to think about. Back to sleep....