A spiral disguised

Resembling a wizard’s staff set aglow, NGC 1032 cleaves the quiet darkness of space in two in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

NGC 1032 is located about a hundred million light years away in the constellation Cetus (The Sea Monster). Although beautiful, this image perhaps does not do justice to the galaxy’s true aesthetic appeal: NGC 1032 is actually a spectacular spiral galaxy, but from Earth, the galaxy’s vast disc of gas, dust and stars is seen nearly edge-on.

A handful of other galaxies can be seen lurking in the background, scattered around the narrow stripe of NGC 1032. Many are oriented face-on or at tilted angles, showing off their glamorous spiral arms and bright cores. Such orientations provide a wealth of detail about the arms and their nuclei, but fully understanding a galaxy’s three-dimensional structure also requires an edge-on view. This gives astronomers an overall idea of how stars are distributed throughout the galaxy and allows them to measure the “height” of the disc and the bright star-studded core.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1820a
Type:Observation
Release date:14 May 2018, 06:00
Size:3148 x 3441 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 1032
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:100 million light years
Category:Galaxies

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