A spattering of blue

Far beyond the stars in the constellation of Leo (The Lion) is irregular galaxy IC 559.

IC 559 is not your everyday galaxy. With its irregular shape and bright blue spattering of stars, it is a fascinating galactic anomaly. It may look like sparse cloud, but it is in fact full of gas and dust which is spawning new stars.

Discovered in 1893, IC 559 lacks the symmetrical spiral appearance of some of its galactic peers and not does not conform to a regular shape. It is actually classified as a “type Sm” galaxy — an irregular galaxy with some evidence for a spiral structure.

Irregular galaxies make up about a quarter of all known galaxies and do not fall into any of the regular classes of the Hubble sequence. Most of these uniquely shaped galaxies were not always so — IC 559 may have once been a conventional spiral galaxy that was then distorted and twisted by the gravity of a nearby cosmic companion.

This image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, combines a wide range of wavelengths spanning the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared parts of the spectrum.

Credit:

ESA/HubbleNASA, D. Calzetti (UMass) and the LEGUS Team

About the Image

Id:potw1436a
Type:Observation
Release date:8 September 2014, 10:00
Size:1692 x 1631 px

About the Object

Name:IC 559
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Irregular
Constellation:Leo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
550.4 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
593.8 KB
1280x1024
1010.1 KB
1600x1200
1.5 MB
1920x1200
1.8 MB
2048x1536
2.3 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):9 44 43.94
Position (Dec):9° 36' 58.49"
Field of view:1.12 x 1.08 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 138.4° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Ultraviolet
UV
275 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Ultraviolet
U
336 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
B
438 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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