Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
NGC 1614’s bright center glows with a quasar-like brightness in this image from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope. And with its faint tail, the interacting galaxy resembles the letter “Q” as our starry alphabet hunt continues.
Explore NGC 1614. Two, nearly symmetrical spiral arms extend from the bright center of this galaxy. While the core of NGC 1614 shines with a quasar-like brightness, astronomers don’t see much evidence for an active center. Dark dust lanes weave through the shimmering cloud of new, blue stars that form the inner spiral arms. Follow the tail to the right. This long, arching arm of stars was pulled away from the main galaxy. This tail, full of older yellow and red stars, curves back and around to the far side of the galaxy. Bright blue clusters of new stars are scattered throughout the arm. The most eye-catching thing about this galaxy is the straight arm of stars that forms the bar of the “Q.” This tail, speckled with patches of new stars, seems to shoot out of the core of the galaxy and fades into deep space. Dozens of distant and faint background galaxies dot the landscape of this galaxy merger.
NGC 1614 can be found in the meandering constellation Eridanus, the River about 200 million light-years from Earth.