Hubble spies a rebel

Hubble Spies a Rebel
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Most galaxies possess a majestic spiral or elliptical structure. About a quarter of galaxies, though, defy such conventional, rounded aesthetics, instead sporting a messy, indefinable shape. Known as irregular galaxies, this group includes NGC 5408, the galaxy that has been snapped here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

John Herschel recorded the existence of NGC 5408 in June 1834. Astronomers had long mistaken NGC 5408 for a , an expelled cloud of material from an aging star. Instead, bucking labels, NGC 5408 turned out to be an entire galaxy, located about 16 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur).

In yet another sign of NGC 5408 breaking convention, the galaxy is associated with an object known as an ultraluminous X-ray source, dubbed NGC 5408 X-1, one of the best studied of its class. These rare objects beam out prodigious amounts of energetic X-rays. Astrophysicists believe these sources to be strong candidates for . This hypothetical type of black hole has significantly less mass than the found in galactic centers, which can have billions of times the mass of the sun, but have a good deal more mass than the formed when giant stars collapse.


Explore further

Hubble sees a supermassive and super-hungry galaxy

Provided by NASA
Citation: Hubble spies a rebel (2016, January 25) retrieved 20 January 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2016-01-hubble-spies-rebel.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
970 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments