Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have taken a detailed image of the spiral galaxy NGC 5495.
NGC 5495 is located approximately 319 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra.
Otherwise known as ESO 511-10, IRAS 14095-2652 and LEDA 50729, this galaxy was discovered on May 13, 1834 by the English astronomer John Herschel.
NGC 5495 is also classified as a Seyfert galaxy, a type of galaxy with a particularly bright central region.
“These luminous cores — known as active galactic nuclei — are dominated by the light emitted by dust and gas falling into a supermassive black hole,” Hubble astronomers said.
“This image is drawn from a series of observations captured by scientists studying supermassive black holes lurking in the hearts of other galaxies.”
“Studying the central regions of galaxies can be challenging,” they noted.
“As well as the light created by matter falling into supermassive black holes, areas of star formation and the light from existing stars all contribute to the brightness of galactic cores.”
Hubble’s crystal-clear vision helped the astronomers disentangle the various sources of light at the core of NGC 5495, allowing them to precisely weigh its supermassive black hole.
“As well as NGC 5495, two stellar interlopers are visible in this Hubble image,” they said.
“One is just outside the center of NGC 5495, and the other is very prominent alongside the galaxy.”
“While they share the same location on the sky, these objects are much closer to home than NGC 5495: they are stars from our own Milky Way.”
“The bright stars are surrounded by criss-cross diffraction spikes, optical artifacts created by the internal structure of Hubble interacting with starlight.”
Source link: https://www.sci.news/astronomy/hubble-ngc-5495-11229.html