NASA’s beautiful picture features a spiral cluster of stars in the constellation Antlia the Air Pump. The Galaxy NGC 3175 sits an approximate 50 million light-years or 293,931,270,000,000,000,000 miles from Earth.
In this picture, the Hubble telescope caught a detailed side-on view of the galaxy.
The galaxy features bright clouds of swirling gas around the galaxy’s central core.
Just like the Milky Way, NGC 3175 boasts spindly arms coiling around the central core like a pinwheel.
All around the galaxy are individual stars twinkling like diamonds against the vast expanse of space.
NASA news: Hubble took this photo from 50 million light-years away (Image: NASA/ESA)
NASA news: Interesting facts about the Hubble Space Telescope (Image: GETTY)
Hubble’s astronomers from the European Space Agency (ESA) dubbed the image a “dazzling display”.
ESA said: “The galaxy can be seen slicing across the frame in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, with its mix of bright patches of glowing gas, dark lanes of dust, bright core, and whirling, pinwheeling arms coming together to paint a beautiful celestial scene.
“The galaxy is the eponymous member of the NGC 3175 group, which has been called a nearby analogue for the Local Group.
“The Local Group contains our very own home galaxy, the Milky Way, and around 50 others – a mix of spiral, irregular and dwarf galaxies.”
Within the NGC 3175 group are many spiral galaxies, which are the most common type found across the universe.
The galaxy can be seen slicing across the frame
European Space Agency (ESA)
Galaxies will often assemble together into galactic clusters or groups, attracted to each other by their gravities.
But the attraction can prove lethal when galaxies fly to close to one another.
Our Milky Way is destined to collide into the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy, proving nothing lasts forever.
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NASA news: The Hubble telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 (Image: NASA)
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Thankfully, the galactic merger is expected to unfold in four to five billion years.
Before that happens, the Milky Way is also expected to merge with the Large Magellanic Cloud – another local galaxy attracted by the Milky Way’s pull.
In 2012, astronomers used the Hubble telescope to determine the motion of Andromeda.
According to Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, a “head-on collision” is definitely on the table.
He said: “Our findings are statistically consistent with a head-on collision between the Andromeda galaxy and our Milky Way galaxy.”
Quick facts about the Hubble Space Telescope:
1. The Hubble telescope transmits about 150 gigabits of raw data every single week.
2. Hubble orbits the planet at breakneck speeds of about 17,000mph.
3. The orbital observatory is powered by the Sun and six batteries – the equivalent of 22 car batteries.
4. Hubble was launched into space on April 24, 1990.
5. The space telescope has observed objects as far as 13.4 billion light-years from Earth.