BEAUTUFUL BARRED SPIRAL IN BRILLIANT BLUE DETAIL.
Photo By: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and reprocessed by Judy Schmidt (Links below).
This beautifully altered photo of M77 or NGC 1068 came about from a 2012 ESA initiative called Hubble’s Hidden Treasures to get people to dig through the mountains of Hubble data on the Hubble Legacy Archive, find photos of objects that were not already posted and finalized on ESA’s Space Telescope website, collect and process the data and submit those results to the contest’s Flickr page. That’s right; although it had been imaged by Hubble it was never processed and released as a Hubble image like all of the other amazing photos we see.
As always I have the links and list of general information about this object below but let’s touch on this object for a moment; M77 or NGC 1068 was initially discovered by French astronomer (There’s a lot of those) Pierre Mechain in 1780. He originally thought it was a nebula and reported his findings to Charles Messier who included it into his Messier Catalogue of non-comets as M77. Not that he got it right either, nor did William Herschel…..they both thought of it is a cluster of stars.
It’s labeled as an Active Galaxy which consists of an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN). Usually caused by a supermassive black hole, an AGN is an area at the center of the galaxy that’s extremely bright and emits most if not all forms of light in the electromagnetic spectrum. The vast arms of this galaxy are ablaze with star formation and thick dust lanes. If there’s any life out there in that galaxy, and they care to see the night sky, I wonder what they name those brilliant nebula. I wonder; what they call OUR galaxy? That’s a thought.
NAME: NGC 1068, M77, Arp 37, UGC 2188, PGC 10266.
WHAT IS IT?: Barred Spiral Galaxy (Active Galaxy with an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN), Type2 Seyfert Galaxy).
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: Approximately 47 million light years distant.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Its apparent dimensions on the night sky are about 7’x 6’ (Arcminutes) and about 170,000 light years in diameter.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE: +9.6 which is easily observable in 6” or larger telescopes.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Cetus (The Sea Monster).
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 2h 42m 40.7s / DEC −00° 00′ 48″.
Judy’s Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geckzilla/with/8055763725/
Hubble Hidden Treasures Contest: http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/hiddentreasures/contest/
Hubble Hidden Treasures Contest Results Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/hubblehiddentreasures/
Hubble Legacy Archive: http://hla.stsci.edu/
Hubble Hidden Treasures release: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1305/