Image Credit: NASA/ESA (STScI/NASA) (ST-ECF/ESA) (CADC/NRC/CSA). Processing by: Robert Gendler

Hubble has imaged a perfect example of a barred spiral galaxy, similar to our own home galaxy of the Milky Way. Though this one differs just a bit, due to the fact that the spiral arms do not reach all the way to the center of the galaxy.


This particular example lurks some 60 million-light years from Earth, in the constellation of Dorado (the Swordfish). NGC 1672, as it is formally known, has many dark filamentary dust lanes that extend in many directions, from the galactic nucleus to the inner edges of the magnificent spiral arms. Also seen throughout are clusters of hot, high-mass, blue-white stars that beam ultraviolet radiation into the interstellar gas and dust clouds, contributing to the ionization that causes the surrounding gas to glow a vivid shade of red.


In the central portion of this not-so-distant galaxy, lies an extremely active galactic nuclei, which also classifies the galaxy as a Seyfert galaxy. The center of the galaxy is also home to a super-massive black hole -- something most galaxies are thought to host in their central cores. As the black holes continuously feed on stars that approach their event horizon from too close of a distance, an accretion disk forms, sometimes emitting more energy than their host galaxies do combined.

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