Hubble overlooks a quiet galaxy with an explosive past

Credits: ESA / Hubble & NASA, D. Jones, A. Riess et al.

The slowly winding spiral arm of the magnificent galaxy NGC976 fills the frame of this image from the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This spiral galaxy is about 150 million light-years from the Milky Way in Aries. Despite its quiet appearance, the NGC 976 is the host of one of the most intense astronomical phenomena known, the supernova explosion. The violent events of these cataclysms occur at the end of the life of a giant star and can quickly surpass the entire galaxy. Supernovae indicate the death of giant stars, but they are also involved in the production of heavy elements that will be incorporated into later generations of stars and planets.

Supernovae are also a convenient aid for astronomers to measure distances to distant galaxies. The amount of energy released into space by certain supernova explosions is so uniform that astronomers can estimate distances from how bright they look when viewed from Earth. This image was created using data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and is from a large collection of Hubble observations of nearby galaxies that it hosts. Supernova A class of pulsating stars also known as Cepheid variable stars. Both Cepheid variables and supernovae are used to measure astronomical distances, and the galaxy containing both objects provides a useful natural laboratory in which the two methods can be calibrated to each other.

Image: Hubble sees cosmic clues in a galactic duo

Quote: Hubble gets a quiet galaxy with an explosive past (January 15, 2022) from did.

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Hubble overlooks a quiet galaxy with an explosive past

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