(Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose)

In this spectacular, newly-released image, we see NGC 4206 — an edge-on spiral galaxy found more than 70 million light-years from Earth in the Virgo constellation.

The Hubble Space Telescope pointed its powerful lens at this distant region of space, capturing various features of the picturesque galaxy in unprecedented detail. These regions include the galaxy’s vast central bulge, along with the contrasting dark streaks of interstellar dust that keep parts of the galaxy hidden away from prying eyes. Also providing splashes of color, we see many red and blue tinged regions, the latter tell us that many stars are being churned out within the galaxy’s “walls” (whereas, the redder light near its core comes from older, more evolved stars).

According to the press release, “NGC 4206 was imaged as part of a Hubble snapshot survey of nearby edge-on spiral galaxies to measure the effect that the material between the stars — known as the interstellar medium — has on light as it travels through it. Using its Advanced Camera for Surveys, Hubble can reveal information about the dusty material and hydrogen gas in the cold parts of the interstellar medium. Astronomers are then able to map the absorption and scattering of light by the material — an effect known as extinction — which causes objects to appear redder to us, the observers.” 

See a larger image here.


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