A mess of stars

Bursts of pink and red, dark lanes of mottled cosmic dust, and a bright scattering of stars — this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows part of a messy barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 428. It lies approximately 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster).

Although a spiral shape is still just about visible in this close-up shot, overall NGC 428’s spiral structure appears to be quite distorted and warped, thought to be a result of a collision between two galaxies. There also appears to be a substantial amount of star formation occurring within NGC 428 — another telltale sign of a merger. When galaxies collide their clouds of gas can merge, creating intense shocks and hot pockets of gas and often triggering new waves of star formation.

NGC 428 was discovered by William Herschel in December 1786. More recently a type Ia supernova designated SN2013ct was discovered within the galaxy by Stuart Parker of the BOSS (Backyard Observatory Supernova Search) project in Australia and New Zealand, although it is unfortunately not visible in this image.

This image was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Image Processing competition by contestants Nick Rose and the Flickr user penninecloud.

Links:

Credit:

ESA/Hubble and NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast)
Acknowledgements: Nick Rose and Flickr user penninecloud

About the Image

Id:potw1532a
Type:Observation
Release date:10 August 2015, 10:00
Size:2908 x 1272 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 428
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:50 million light years
Constellation:Cetus
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
194.3 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
450.3 KB
1280x1024
699.6 KB
1600x1200
976.3 KB
1920x1200
1.1 MB
2048x1536
1.4 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):1 12 55.49
Position (Dec):0° 59' 18.65"
Field of view:2.41 x 1.06 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 21.9° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical625 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical450 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical450 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical658 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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