Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dwarf Galaxy UGC 1281

Dwarf Galaxy UGC 1281
Click on the image for full resolution (8.9 MB)

The galaxy cutting dramatically across the frame of this Hubble Space Telescope image is a slightly warped dwarf galaxy known as UGC 1281. Seen here from an edge-on perspective, this galaxy lies roughly 18 million light-years away in the constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle). The bright companion to the lower left of UGC 1281 is the small galaxy PGC 6700, officially known as 2MASX J01493473+3234464. Other prominent stars belonging to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and more distant galaxies can be seen scattered throughout the sky. The side-on view we have of UGC 1281 makes it a perfect candidate for studies into how gas is distributed within galactic halos - the roughly spherical regions of diffuse gas extending outwards from a galaxy's center. Astronomers have studied this galaxy to see how its gas vertically extends out from its central plane, and found it to be a quite typical dwarf galaxy. However, it does have a slightly warped shape to its outer edges, and is forming stars at a particularly low rate. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Luca Limatola.
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA
Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola
Image enhancement: Jean-Baptiste Faure

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