Ribbons and pearls

This week’s picture shows spectacular ribbons of gas and dust wrapping around the pearly centre of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1398. This galaxy is located in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), approximately 65 million light-years away.

Rather than beginning at the very middle of the galaxy and swirling outwards, NGC 1398’s graceful spiral arms stem from a straight bar, formed of stars, that cuts through the galaxy’s central region. Most spiral galaxies — around two thirds — are observed to have this feature, but it’s not yet clear whether or how these bars affect a galaxy’s behaviour and development.

This image comprises data gathered by the FOcal Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph 2 (FORS2) instrument, mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal Observatory, Chile. It shows NGC 1398 in striking detail, from the dark lanes of dust mottling its spiral arms, through to the pink-hued star-forming regions sprinkled throughout its outer regions.

This image was created as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme, an outreach initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes, and are made available to astronomers through ESO’s science archive.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:potw1801a
Type:Observation
Release date:1 January 2018, 06:00
Size:3416 x 3463 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 1398
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:65 million light years
Constellation:Fornax
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
234.9 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
203.4 KB
1280x1024
316.9 KB
1600x1200
471.1 KB
1920x1200
592.3 KB
2048x1536
793.0 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):3 38 51.93
Position (Dec):-26° 20' 13.29"
Field of view:7.17 x 7.27 arcminutes
Orientation:North is -0.0° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandTelescope
Optical
B
Very Large Telescope
FORS2
Optical
V
Very Large Telescope
FORS2
Optical
R
Very Large Telescope
FORS2
Optical
H-alpha
Very Large Telescope
FORS2

 

Also see our