Imagine a galaxy and what comes to mind probably resembles NGC 2336, a glittering whirl of stars.
And just days before a software problem hit it Hubble Space Telescopethe iconic spacecraft sent home a stunning image of the great, beautiful and brilliant blue galaxy. NASA uploaded the image of NGC 2336, a galaxy about 100 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Camelopardalis (also known as the giraffe), on Friday, March 5, two days before the telescope turned off unexpectedly(The telescope has since resumed operations
In a statement about the new imageNASA calls NGC 2336 “the essential galaxy.” NGC 2336 is a barred spiral galaxy, meaning it has a star-dense center in the shape of a bar, with arms spiraling out of the bar’s ends. The galaxy is also very large, 200,000 light-years across, according to the NASA statement.
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This is far from the largest galaxy to be discovered, of which the credit goes to IC 1101, which, with a diameter of 5.5 million light years, is 50 times the size of our Milky Way. Yet it is at the broad end of most spiral galaxies, that can measure between about 16,000 light years and 300,000 light years across
The bright blue stars twinkling through the spiral arms of NGC 2336 make the Milky Way particularly beautiful. These are young stars that emit bright blue light. At the center of NGC 2336 is a darker, redder region made up mostly of older stars.
German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel discovered this “typical galaxy” in 1876 using a much smaller telescope than Hubble, with a mirror about one-tenth the size of Hubble’s.
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