A spiral snowflake

Spiral galaxies together with irregular galaxies make up approximately 60% of the galaxies in the local Universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique — like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust, are captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image.

NGC 6814 has an extremely bright nucleus, a telltale sign that the galaxy is a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have very active centres that can emit strong bursts of radiation. The luminous heart of NGC 6814 is a highly variable source of X-ray radiation, causing scientists to suspect that it hosts a supermassive black hole with a mass about 18 million times that of the Sun.

As NGC 6814 is a very active galaxy, many regions of ionised gas are studded along  its spiral arms. In these large clouds of gas, a burst of star formation has recently taken place, forging the brilliant blue stars that are visible scattered throughout the galaxy.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

About the Image

Id:potw1619a
Type:Observation
Release date:9 May 2016, 06:00
Size:3970 x 3970 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 6814
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:75 million light years
Constellation:Aquila
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
7.3 MB
Screensize JPEG
472.9 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
470.5 KB
1280x1024
776.9 KB
1600x1200
1.1 MB
1920x1200
1.3 MB
2048x1536
1.8 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):19 42 40.96
Position (Dec):-10° 19' 30.75"
Field of view:2.62 x 2.62 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 50.8° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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