PHOTO OF THE DAY: NASA’s Hubble Telescope Spots Star-Forming Spiral 110 Million Light-Years Away

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The irregular spiral galaxy NGC 5486 hangs against a background of dim, distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA image)

(NASA) – The irregular spiral galaxy NGC 5486 hangs against a background of dim, distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The tenuous disk of the galaxy is threaded through with pink wisps of star formation, which stand out from the diffuse glow of the galaxy’s bright core.

While this particular galaxy has indistinct, meandering spiral arms, it lies close to the much larger Pinwheel Galaxy, which is one of the best-known examples of a ‘grand design spiral galaxy with prominent and well-defined spiral arms.

In 2006, Hubble captured an image of the Pinwheel Galaxy which was, at the time, the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever taken with Hubble.

NGC 5486 lies 110 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

This observation comes from a selection of Hubble images exploring debris left behind by Type II supernovae.

As massive stars reach the end of their lives, they cast off huge amounts of gas and dust before ending their lives in titanic supernova explosions.

NGC 5486 hosted a supernova in 2004, and astronomers used the keen vision of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys to explore the aftermath in the hopes of learning more about these explosive events.

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