Hubble Affords Glimpse of ‘UFO Galaxy’

By  //  October 10, 2013

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first discovered Feb. 5, 1788

The most comprehensive images so far of the NGC 2683 galaxy have been taken by local astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope. (ESA/Hubble & NASA image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Local astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have finally been able to view the “UFO Galaxy” fully for the first time using a side-on view.

Also called NGC 2683, the spiral galaxy is often seen by most astronomers edge-on, revealing it to be similar to the design of a 1950s movie flying saucer. For that reason, stargazers at the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory in Cocoa first nicknamed the NGC 2683 as the “UFO Galaxy.”

The NGC 2683 galaxy was first discovered on Feb. 5, 1788 by German astronomer William Herschel while living in England. Herschel also is credited with discovering the planet Uranus and two of its moons, Titania and Oberon.

Galaxy NGC 2683 was nicknamed the “UFO Galaxy” became it resembles a science fiction movie spaceship. (ESA/Hubble & NASA image)

NGC 2683 is found in the Northern constellation of Lynx. Lynx is a constellation so named for its resemblance to the “sensitive eyes of a cat.”

NGC 2683 is found in the Northern constellation of Lynx. Lynx is a constellation so named for its resemblance to the “sensitive eyes of a cat.” The new side-on Hubble view of NGC 2883 provides astronomers a fantastic glimpse of the galaxy’s extending spiral arms that are silhouetted against the golden center core of the galaxy.

The new side-on Hubble view of NGC 2883 provides astronomers a fantastic glimpse of the galaxy’s extending spiral arms that are silhouetted against the golden center core of the galaxy.

Reviews of light properties emitted by NGC 2683 confirm it is indeed a barred spiral galaxy.

Astronomers have also been able to view shiny clusters of small blue stars scattered throughout the area, thereby mapping the galaxy’s star-forming regions.

New images of NGC 2683 have been produced from two distinct and nearby fields captured in visible and infrared light by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

A narrow strip which appears in the images slightly blurred and crossing the galaxy horizontally is a result of a gap between Hubble’s detectors.


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