Astronomy Picture of the Day


Barred Spiral Galaxy M95

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#99152 by [z]Barbara Harris @ 15.03.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Barred Spiral Galaxy M95


Explanation:
Why do some spiral galaxies have a ring around the center?

First and foremost,
M95 is one of the
closer examples of a big and beautiful barred
spiral galaxy.

Visible in the
above recent image from the
CFHT telescope in
Hawaii,
USA, are sprawling
spiral arms delineate by
open clusters of bright blue stars, lanes of
dark dust, the diffuse glow of billions of faint stars,
and a short bar across the galaxy center.

What intrigues many astronomers, however, is the circumnuclear
ring around the galaxy center visible just outside the
central bar.

Recent images by the
Chandra X-ray Observatory have shown that
X-ray light
surrounding the ring is likely emission from recent
supernovas.

Although the long term stability of the ring remains a
topic of research,
recent observations indicate its present brightness is at least enhanced by
transient bursts of star formation.

M95,
also known as NGC 3351, spans about 50,000
light-years and can be seen with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Lion
(Leo).




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