A galactic cloak for an exploding star

The galaxy pictured here is NGC 4424, located in the constellation of  Virgo. It is not visible with the naked eye but has been captured here with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Although it may not be obvious from this image, NGC 4424 is in fact a spiral galaxy. In this image it is seen more or less edge on, but from above you would be able to see the arms of the galaxy wrapping around its centre to give the characteristic spiral form .

In 2012 astronomers observed a supernova in NGC 4424 — a violent explosion marking the end of a star’s life. During a supernova explosion, a single star can often outshine an entire galaxy. However, the supernova in NGC 4424, dubbed SN 2012cg, cannot be seen here as the image was taken ten years prior to the explosion. Along the central region of the galaxy, clouds of dust block the light from distant stars and create dark patches.

To the left of NGC 4424 there are two bright objects in the frame. The brightest is another, smaller galaxy known as LEDA 213994 and the object closer to NGC 4424 is an anonymous star in our Milky Way.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Gilles Chapdelaine.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine

About the Image

Id:potw1508a
Type:Observation
Release date:23 February 2015, 10:00
Size:940 x 921 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 4424
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:50 million light years
Constellation:Virgo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
276.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
256.7 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
255.4 KB
1280x1024
386.4 KB
1600x1200
504.1 KB
1920x1200
543.2 KB
2048x1536
704.0 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):12 27 11.33
Position (Dec):9° 25' 14.77"
Field of view:1.57 x 1.54 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 67.3° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

Also see our


Accelerated by CDN77