Astro-pointillism

On a clear evening in April of 1789, the renowned astronomer William Herschel continued his unrelenting survey of the night sky, hunting for new cosmic objects — and found cause to celebrate! Lengthening his impressive list of cosmic discoveries yet again, the astronomer spotted this bright spiral galaxy, named NGC 4707, lurking in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dog). NGC 4707 lies roughly 22 million light-years from Earth.

Over two centuries later, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is able to view the same galaxy in far greater detail than Herschel could, allowing us to appreciate the intricacies and characteristics of NGC 4707 as never before. This striking image comprises observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), one of a handful of high-resolution instruments currently aboard the space telescope.

Herschel himself reportedly described NGC 4707 as a “small, stellar” galaxy; while it is classified as a spiral (type Sm), its overall shape, centre, and spiral arms are very loose and undefined, and its central bulge is either very small or non-existent. It instead appears as a rough sprinkling of stars and bright flashes of blue on a dark canvas, as if a pointillist painter had dotted the cosmos with small pinpricks of bright paint.

The blue smudges seen across the frame highlight regions of recent or ongoing star formation, with newborn stars glowing in bright, intense shades of cyan and turquoise.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1651a
Type:Observation
Release date:19 December 2016, 06:00
Size:3550 x 2406 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 4707
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:22 million light years
Constellation:Canes Venatici
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
4.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
292.8 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
367.3 KB
1280x1024
653.4 KB
1600x1200
943.2 KB
1920x1200
1.1 MB
2048x1536
1.6 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):12 48 21.96
Position (Dec):51° 9' 43.04"
Field of view:2.96 x 2.01 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 69.2° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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