Dec 13, 2021

Hubble Image Captures a Stunning Spiral Galaxy in Aquila

Posted by in category: cosmology

This week’s image from the Hubble Space Telescope captures the glorious spiral galaxy UGC 11,537, seen at an angle that shows off both its long spiral arms and the bright clump of stars at its center. It is located 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Aquila (Latin for “eagle”).

As well as being pleasing to look at, this image was collected to further scientific knowledge about the enormous black holes at the galaxy’s heart. “This image came from a set of observations designed to help astronomers weigh supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies,” Hubble scientists wrote. “Hubble’s sharp-eyed observations along with data from ground-based telescopes allowed astronomers to make detailed models of the mass and motions of stars in these galaxies, which in turn helps constrain the mass of supermassive black holes.”

Hubble is back up and running this week, with all four of its currently active instruments operational and collecting science data once again. The telescope had been automatically placed into safe mode following a synchronization error in late October, but the error seems to have been a one-off. In the weeks since the error occurred, the Hubble team turned on first one of the older inactive instruments, then each of the currently active instruments one by one.

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