Hubble eyes a powerful galaxy with a password name

June 30, 2017 by Karl Hille, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
2XMM J143450.5+033843 lies nearly 400 million light-years away from Earth. It is a Seyfert galaxy that is dominated by something known as an Active Galactic Nucleus -- its core is thought to contain a supermassive black hole that is emitting huge amounts of radiation, pouring energetic X-rays out into the universe. The other fuzzy object in the frame was named in the same way -- it is a bright galaxy named 2XMM J143448.3+033749. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Not all galaxies have the luxury of possessing a simple moniker or quirky nickname. This impressive galaxy imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the unlucky ones, and goes by a name that looks more like a password for a computer: 2XMM J143450.5+033843.

Such a name may seem like a random jumble of numbers and letters, but like all galactic epithets it has a distinct meaning. This galaxy, for example, was detected and observed as part of the second X-ray sky survey performed by ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory. Its celestial coordinates form the rest of the bulky name, following the "J": a right ascension value of 14h (hours) 34m (minutes) 50.5s (seconds). This can be likened to terrestrial longitude. It also has a declination of +03d (degrees) 38m (minutes) 43s (seconds). Declination can be likened to terrestrial latitude. The other fuzzy object in the frame was named in the same way—it is a bright galaxy named 2XMM J143448.3+033749.

2XMM J143450.5+033843 lies nearly 400 million light-years away from Earth. It is a Seyfert galaxy that is dominated by something known as an Active Galactic Nucleus—its core is thought to contain a that is emitting huge amounts of radiation, pouring energetic X-rays out into the Universe.

Explore further: Hubble scopes out a galaxy of stellar birth

Related Stories

Hubble scopes out a galaxy of stellar birth

June 26, 2017

This image displays a galaxy known as ESO 486-21 (with several other background galaxies and foreground stars visible in the field as well). ESO 486-21 is a spiral galaxy—albeit with a somewhat irregular and ill-defined ...

Hubble gazes into a black hole of puzzling lightness

January 13, 2017

The beautiful spiral galaxy visible in the center of the image is known as RX J1140.1+0307, a galaxy in the Virgo constellation imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and it presents an interesting puzzle. At first ...

Hubble catches a galaxy duo by the 'hare'

May 12, 2017

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the unusual galaxy IRAS 06076-2139, found in the constellation Lepus (The Hare). Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) instruments ...

Image: Hubble sees elegant spiral hiding a hungry monster

October 19, 2015

NGC 4639 is a beautiful example of a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral. It lies over 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo and is one of about 1,500 galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster.

Hubble spies a spiral snowflake

May 13, 2016

Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique—like snowflakes, no two are alike. ...

Image: Hubble spies a spiral snowflake

May 16, 2016

Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique—like snowflakes, no two are alike. ...

Recommended for you

Solar-powered rover approaching 5,000th Martian dawn

February 16, 2018

The sun will rise on NASA's solar-powered Mars rover Opportunity for the 5,000th time on Saturday, sending rays of energy to a golf-cart-size robotic field geologist that continues to provide revelations about the Red Planet.

Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies

February 15, 2018

The growth of the biggest black holes in the Universe is outrunning the rate of formation of stars in the galaxies they inhabit, according to two new studies using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes ...

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

February 15, 2018

Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm - once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal - is shrinking out of existence as seen ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.