NASA, ESA Hubble telescope captures image of spiral galaxy 60 million light-years away

The spiral galaxy, NGC 3717, is located in the Hydra constellation that is commonly represented as a water snake.


The Hubble telescope is has done it once again.

Having a history of capturing the most mesmerising images, the NASA and ESA collaborative telescope has clicked a picture of yet another galaxy, a spiral galaxy at that.

The galaxy, called NGC 3717, it is located around 60 million light-years away, in the constellation Hydra. This constellation was discovered in 1834 by Sir John Herschel.

Hydra is the largest of the 88 modern constellations and measures 1303 square degrees and is also the longest at over 100 degrees. It is commonly represented as a water snake and is located in the southern hemisphere.

NASA, ESA Hubble telescope captures image of spiral galaxy 60 million light-years away

Hubble telescope captures a spiral galaxy 60 million light-years away. image credit: NASA

The Hubble telescope is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space where it has an unobstructed view of the universe. It was launched in 1990 and has been in service for 29 years after being serviced five times.

Sometimes, Hubble looks at things at an angle like it has done this time. This helps us see the spiral galaxy across the disk, while also viewing the bulge at the centre.

Our Milky Way is another example of a spiral galaxy, which is a class of galaxies originally described by the Edwin Hubble (after whom the telescope is named) as such in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae. Most spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust. At their centres, they have a bright, spherical concentration of stars known as the bulge. It extends above and below the disk (the bottom bulge, in this picture, is not visible).

These galaxies look like the stereotypical flying saucers or UFOs.

Last Friday, Hubble captured an image of the Medusa merger (aka NGC 4194). About 130 million light-years away, an early galaxy consumed a smaller gas-rich system, throwing out streams of stars and dust into space.

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