NASA's Spitzer Images Out-of-This-World Galaxy

NASA's Spitzer Images Out-of-This-World Galaxy
The "eye" at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars.

( -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged a wild creature of the dark -- a coiled galaxy with an eye-like object at its center.

The galaxy, called NGC 1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The "eye" at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this color-coded infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue and the ring of stars, white.

The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is feeding off gas and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. Our Milky Way's central black hole is tame by comparison, with a mass of a few million suns.

"The fate of this black hole and others like it is an active area of research," said George Helou, deputy director of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "Some theories hold that the black hole might quiet down and eventually enter a more dormant state like our Milky Way black hole."

The ring around the black hole is bursting with new . An inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy is causing the ring to light up with new stars.

"The ring itself is a fascinating object worthy of study because it is forming stars at a very high rate," said Kartik Sheth, an astronomer at NASA's Spitzer Science Center. Sheth and Helou are part of a team that made the observations.

In the Spitzer image, with shorter wavelengths is blue, while longer-wavelength light is red. The galaxy's red spiral arms and the swirling spokes seen between the arms show dust heated by . Older populations of stars scattered through the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit snuggly between the arms, is a companion galaxy.

"The companion galaxy that looks as if it's playing peek-a-boo through the larger galaxy could have plunged through, poking a hole," said Helou. "But we don't know this for sure. It could also just happen to be aligned with a gap in the arms."

Other dots in the picture are either nearby stars in our galaxy, or distant .

This image was taken during Spitzer's "cold mission," which lasted more than five-and-a-half years. The telescope ran out of coolant needed to chill its infrared instruments on May 15, 2009. Two of its infrared channels will still work perfectly during the new "warm mission," which is expected to begin in a week or so, once the observatory has been recalibrated and warms to its new temperature of around 30 Kelvin (about minus 406 degrees Fahrenheit).

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

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Jul 23, 2009
It seems that barred spiral galaxies (like NGC 1097) are extremely efficient at funneling gas into the nucleus along the bar. This galaxy also sports 4 (!) faint optical jets from the nucleus, a good sign of an Active Galactic Nucleus. An interaction with NGC 1097A (the bluish galaxy to the left of the nucleus) may also be responsible for some of the activity seen in this galaxy. Nice Spitzer image of this system.

Jul 24, 2009

Repulsive interactions between neutrons energize those in neutron stars and prevent their collapse into black holes.

Evidence of repulsive interactions between neutrons in all 3,000 known nuclei is shown here:


With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

Jul 24, 2009
With all due respect Oliver, wtf does that have to do with anything? I find your research interesting and definitely appreciate an "alternative" view, but posting "THA NEUTRONS OUR REPULSIN THREE THOUSANDS ATOMS" in every article is borderline spam.

Anyway, the image gives me chills. Hard to believe there's probably a couple hundred thousand earths in that galaxy, and then another billion other galaxies "out there."

Any difference in the redshit between the two galaxies?

Jul 24, 2009

With all due respect Oliver, wtf does that have to do with anything?

Repulsive interactions between neutrons become important when matter is compressed to nuclear densities.

Repulsive interactions between neutrons become increasingly important as mass increases, from ~1 amu to ~300 amu, across the 3,000 nuclei that represent every atom in the visible universe.

That is why some neutron-rich nuclei spontaneously emit a neutron.

The much more massive objects at the centers of stars and galaxies cannot be understood by those who ignores repulsive interactions between neutrons in nuclear matter.

E.g. - Imaginary Black Holes, "Mysterious" Cosmic Explosions, etc.

Repulsive interactions between neutrons power galactic centers, as well as the cores of the Sun and other ordinary stars.

Hydrogen, a neutron-decay product, is generated and pours outward from galactic and stellar cores.

Just like smoke released from fires, CO2 pouring from automobile exhausts, and Hydrogen that Lavoisier observed when sulfuric acid was added to zinc:

H2SO4 Zn => H2 ZnSO4

Solar-wind Hydrogen is "smoke" from the nuclear engine that powers the Sun.

This is explained more fully in the Naked Scientists Discussion Forum: http://www.thenak...4739.200

Oliver K. Manuel

Jul 24, 2009
Hydrogen pours out from galactic ceners because blackholes can spin and have electro-magnetic fields. Stellar gasses are drawn into the blackhole in an orbiting motion where because of friction with other particles become superheated and then some of these particles are pulled into the hole or they hitch a ride of the electro-magnetic fields lines leading away from the hole. You can have similar effects with a neutron star.

This only happens because of the huge energy in the gravitational field. Not because of beta decay.

Jul 25, 2009

Sorry, Alex, but you cannot know the age of an individual Hydrogen atom.

You probably know that a free neutron quickly decays to a Hydrogen atom.

You may know that galactic centers, the Sun and other stars discard Hydrogen.

You may correctly surmise that these objects produce Hydrogen.

Or you can ignore repulsive interactions between neutrons and pretend that Hydrogen is fuel, rather than smoke, of stellar and galactic engines [See: Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source, Journal of Fusion Energy 20 (2001) pages 197-201: ].

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

Jul 25, 2009
OKM: Do you have anyone to corroborate your claims?

Besides say Miller and Katragada? ;P

Jul 26, 2009
I do know that free, unbound neutrons will undergo beta decay almost spontaneously. This does produce a proton (hydrogen ion, electron, and an electron neutrino. My question is, where are all the unbound neutrons coming from in your model?

I am not sure on this and am only speculating (I am quantum chemistry guy) but free neutrons in neutron stars are only possible because of the huge energy well produced by the stars gravity that allow them to remain as neutrons and not decay. The sun definitively doesn't have the kind of mass to pull that off.

Jul 26, 2009
What he's saying is that, in essence, the sun IS one big unbounded neutron... Which is decaying.

This makes sense if you consider two large opposite charge "fronts" "neutralizing" on a central point, which then decay into smaller stable bite size chunks of charge... From large to small.

I find it odd gravity is supposedly so well understood in such extreme physics such as neutron stars (preventing decay), yet even the most trivial aspect of gravity remain such a grave mystery.

The door appears shut on the subject and the ideas are rated 5/5 not because there's evidence or experiment to support such claims, but only because the equation balances.

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