Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured a striking new photo of the small spiral galaxy NGC 1317.
NGC 1317 is located approximately 55 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Fornax.
Also known as ESO 357-23, LEDA 12653 and Fornax B, the galaxy is a member of the galaxy pair NGC 1316/NGC 1317.
“NGC 1317’s larger neighbor, NGC 1316 (Fornax A), lies outside Hubble’s field of view,” the astronomers said.
“Despite the absence, NGC 1317 is accompanied in this image by two objects from very different parts of the Universe.”
“The bright point ringed with a criss-cross pattern is a star from our own galaxy surrounded by diffraction spikes, whereas the redder elongated smudge is a distant galaxy lying far beyond NGC 1317.”
The color image of NGC 1317 was made from separate exposures taken in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
Five filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter.
“Combined with data from the ALMA array in the Atacama Desert, these observations help us chart the connections between vast clouds of cold gas and the fiercely hot young stars that form within them,” the researchers said.
“ALMA’s unparalleled sensitivity at long wavelengths identified vast reservoirs of cold gas throughout the local Universe, and Hubble’s sharp vision pinpointed clusters of young stars, as well as measuring their ages and masses.”
“Often the most exciting astronomical discoveries require this kind of telescope teamwork, with cutting-edge facilities working together and providing astronomers with information across the electromagnetic spectrum.”
“The same applies to future telescopes, with Hubble’s observations laying the groundwork for future science with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.”