Hubble Captures Brilliant Needle Galaxy Image

By  //  August 25, 2013

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BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – A brilliant new image of a distant spiral galaxy captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is giving astronomers a better understanding of our own Milky Way Galaxy.

This image of the Needle Galaxy was captured early in July by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and reveals an exquisitely detailed edge-on view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy. (Image courtesy NASA/ESA)

The Needle Galaxy, officially called NGC 4565, was discovered in 1785 by British astronomer Sir William Herschel and is positioned about 31 million light years from Earth in the Constellation Coma Berenices.

The spiral-shaped galaxy is similar to the Milky Way, although the Needle Galaxy is only about one-third its size.

It is known as the Needle Galaxy because its long and narrow profile.

Astronomers employed Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys to gather a new edge-on view of the Needle Galaxy earlier this month.

The new startling view of the Needle Galaxy has unveiled the familiar features astronomers have long known about the Milky Way.

The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit and released from Space Shuttle Discovery in April 1990. (Image courtesy of NASA/ESA)

Both of the galaxies contain thick dark ribbons of interstellar dust that serve to block some light that is emitted from their cores.

In the new image, the Needle Galaxy’s dust lanes are plainly apparent in the lower right third of the image thanks to a contrast of intense yellow light that shines from the galaxy’s star-filled core region.

The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit and released from Space Shuttle Discovery in April 1990.

A mission by the Space Shuttle Atlantis in May 2009 provided two new instruments for the telescope including the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3.

NASA and the European Space Agency manage the Hubble Space Telescope.


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