Posts Tagged ‘Antlia’

Spiral in a glittering galaxy


A spiral galaxy peeps through a sparkling array of stars in this image of ESO 318-13 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the dazzling spray of stars and far-off galaxies; take in the objects near and far. What shapes or stories do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

Galaxies after all are mostly empty space. Light-years separate stars and if dark dust clouds don’t obscure the view, the galaxies become mostly transparent allowing distant background galaxies to shine through.

Pan to the center of the galaxy and you’ll find a bright star right in the middle. The stars of ESO 318-13 are brilliant in this image but they don’t compare to to the bright star that is actually much closer to Earth within our Milky Way Galaxy. Several bright stars are also members of our galaxy.

ESO 318-13 is an irregular dwarf galaxy millions of light-years from Earth. In this image, we see the galaxy along its edge. Although the stars are brilliant and crystal clear, the beautiful image doesn’t show us much of the galaxy’s structure. We do find many distant galaxies with distinct spiral and elliptical shapes scattered throughout the image.

ESO 318-13 is located toward the southern constellation Antlia, the Pump. French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille created this constellation in 1756 to commemorate the air pump. The constellation faces away from the Milky Way Galaxy and toward deeps space and has no bright stars.

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Faces in a Faint Cloud

Credit: ESA/NASA Hubble


Eyes peer out of this faint star cloud known as the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Zoom into the sparsely populated star cloud. What faces or stories do you see? Leave a note below.

Discovered recently in 1997, the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy is a very faint collection of stars just four million light-years from Earth. Although it is somewhat close, it is unclear whether it is part of the Local Group, a group of galaxies containing the Milky Way Galaxy, Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda Galaxy. The Antlia Dwarf Galaxy may be just wandering near the group interacting slightly with nearby galaxies. Astronomers study galaxies like this one because it gives them a clear picture of different stages of galaxy formation.

Zoom into the loose galaxy. New, bluer stars are found toward the center of the image. Older red stars and faint, fuzzy globular clusters are found to the outside. In the background, gaze at dozens of faraway galaxies of different shapes. Perhaps one of those distant galaxies has a faint dwarf galaxy nearby that we cannot see.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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