The Coiled Galaxy

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1097

Image credit & copyright: European Southern Observatory (ESO).

50 million light years away in the southern constellation, Fornax (furnace) is this beautiful barred spiral galaxy cataloged as NGC 1097. The sweeping blue spiral arms dotted with pink star forming regions and vast dust lanes are a sight to see.

In this image you can see a smaller elliptical satellite galaxy cataloged as NGC 1097A near the top of the image and in addition to that you may have noticed the beautiful bright ring near the core of this galaxy. This ring is roughly 5,000 light years in diameter and is bursting with stellar formation.  This ring is being powered by a supermassive black hole with a mass of 140 million times that of our Sun.

Below is an image of this beautiful galaxy in infrared provided by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged a wild creature of the dark -- a coiled galaxy with an eye-like object at its center.

NAME: NGC 1097.

WHAT IS IT?: Barred spiral galaxy.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: About 50 million light years.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Roughly 80,000 light years in diameter.

APPARENT MAGNITUDE: About 10.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Southern constellation Fornax (Furnace).

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 02h 46m 19.0s / Dec −30° 16′ 30”.

ESO source for this image: https://www.eso.org/public/usa/images/potw1128a/

Spitzer page for the infrared image: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/2685-ssc2009-14a1-The-Coiled-Galaxy-NGC-1097

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