Hubble telescope captures image of unique lopsided spiral galaxy, 120 mn light-years away

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a spiral galaxy called NGC 2276, located in the Cepheus constellation. It is estimated to be 120 million light-years away. The galaxy is 'lopsided' or deformed because of the gravitational pull of its neighbour, NGC 2300. According to a Hubble blog. since galaxies are not solid object but made up of tens of billions of stars; when two galaxies come together, they feel each other's gravity.

The spiral galaxy NGC 2276 lies 120 million light-years away, in the northern constellation Cepheus. Credits: Publication Partners: NASA, ESA, STScI, Paul Sell (University of Florida)

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency.

The extremely hot gas that is present in the galaxy clusters is also responsible for the shape of NGC 2276. quotes the ESA which said that the burst of stars in NGC 2276 was formed by this hot gas. On the left side of the close-up image, a bright area of blue-tinged light can be observed. The galaxy also has black holes and neutron stars in the binary systems.

Usually, the brighter, yellowish, older stars are right in the centre of the spiral galaxies. But in this galaxy you will see it off centre, to the upper left corner. reports that since NGC 2276 is such a weird spiral galaxy, it was included in The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. It is a "catalogue of the weirdest stellar conglomerates originally published in 1966."

This packed ESA/Hubble Picture of the Week showcases the galaxy cluster ACO S 295, as well as a jostling crowd of background galaxies and foreground stars. Galaxies of all shapes and sizes populate this image, ranging from stately spirals to fuzzy ellipticals. As well as a range of sizes, this galactic menagerie boasts a range of orientations, with spiral galaxies such as the one at the centre of this image appearing almost face on, and some edge-on spiral galaxies visible only as thin slivers of light. The cluster dominates the centre of this image, both visually and physically. The huge mass of the galaxy cluster has gravitationally lensed the background galaxies, distorting and smearing their shapes. As well as providing astronomers with a natural magnifying glass with which to study distant galaxies, gravitational lensing has subtly framed the centre of this image, producing a visually striking scene. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Pacaud, D. Coe

More than what meets the eye

The Hubble telescope has also captured an image of the ACO S 295 galaxy cluster. However, what is even more fascinating is the several other types of galaxies that can also be seen in the background and the stars can be seen in the foreground. A NASA press release describes this image as a "Galactic Menagerie." It states that galaxies of all shapes and sizes are visible with some looking back at the telescope head-on while others are just visible as blobs of light.


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