Dancing on the edge

Galaxies can take many shapes and be oriented any way relative to us in the sky. This can make it hard to figure out their actual morphology, as a galaxy can look very different from different viewpoints. A special case is when we are lucky enough to observe a spiral galaxy directly from its edge, providing us with a spectacular view like the one seen in this picture of the week.

This is NGC 7814, also known as the “Little Sombrero”. Its larger namesake the Sombrero Galaxy is another stunning example of an edge-on galaxy — in fact, the “Little Sombrero” is about the same size as its bright namesake at about 60 000 light-years across, but as it lies further away, it appears smaller in the sky.

NGC 7814 has a bright central bulge and a bright halo of glowing gas extending outwards into space. The dusty spiral arms appear as dark streaks. they consist of dusty material that absorbs and blocks light from the galactic centre behind it. The field of view of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image would be very impressive even without NGC 7814 in front; nearly all the objects seen in this image are galaxies as well.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.

Links

Credit:

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Josh Barrington

About the Image

Id:potw1505a
Type:Observation
Release date:2 February 2015, 10:00
Size:4042 x 2009 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 7814
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:40 million light years
Constellation:Pegasus
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
116.5 KB

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1024x768
235.2 KB
1280x1024
395.7 KB
1600x1200
583.7 KB
1920x1200
699.1 KB
2048x1536
969.8 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):0 3 13.96
Position (Dec):16° 8' 23.43"
Field of view:3.37 x 1.68 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 31.5° right of vertical

Colours & filters

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

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