shows us a bright (and hypnotic) “hidden” spiral galaxy
As the James Webb Telescope prepares for full activation, the veteran orbiting space observatory Hubble has not lost its habit of delighting us with its images of the universe. This time he brings us a spectacular image of spiral galaxy IC 342also known as Caldwell 5 or “hidden galaxy”.
It is a large and bright spiral galaxy that, despite its characteristics, is very difficult for professional astronomers to observe. This is due to its position near the galactic equator, a sector filled with thick cosmic gas, dark dust, and bright stars that make it difficult to see from Earth.
Observing Caldwell 5 with Hubble
Hubble has certain advantages to observe this set of stars, gas clouds and other elements that make up this galaxy. The telescope’s infrared instruments can “look” through the interstellar matter barrier which makes it dark and provide a clear picture of what is behind it.
The image released by NASA it shows a front view with tendrils of dust intertwined in arms encircling a glowing core of hot gas and stars. The nucleus, as explained by the space agencyis specific to a region called H II, an area of glowing gas and plasma that is the birthplace of massive stars.
It should be noted that Caldwell 5 is relatively close to Earth, in galactic terms. It is located at 11 million light years from our planet and is about half the diameter of the Milky Way (50,000 light years). If it weren’t obscured by so much interstellar matter, it would be one of the brightest galaxies in our sky.
The co-star in this photo is Hubble, which has been in operation for more than 32 years. Over its lifetime, and following numerous servicing missions and glitches, it has made some remarkable discoveries, some of the latest being a black hole that creates stars rather than gobble them up, a space “superbubble” and evidence of steam on Ganymede. .
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