Hubble Focuses on Galaxies in Milky Way’s Neighborhood

by johnsmith

A stunning new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows two nearby galaxies, LEDA 48062 and UGC 8603, located in the constellation of Canes Venatici.

This Hubble image shows two nearby galaxies: the irregular galaxy LEDA 48062 (right) and the lenticular galaxy UGC 8603 (left); several smaller galaxies in various orientations cluster around LEDA 48062 and UGC 8603. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / R. Tully.

LEDA 48062 is the faint, sparse, amorphous galaxy on the right side of this new Hubble image

It is accompanied by a more sharply defined neighbor on the left, the large, disk-like lenticular galaxy UGC 8603.

LEDA 48062 is located only around 30 million light-years from the Milky Way; UGC 8603 lies at a distance of 132 million light-years from our Galaxy.

The galaxies were observed as part of the Every Known Nearby Galaxy campaign.

“The aim of this campaign was to observe precisely that: every known galaxy within 10 megaparsecs (around 33 million light-years) of the Milky Way,” Hubble astronomers explained.

“By getting to know our galactic neighbors, we can determine what types of stars reside in various galaxies and also map out the local structure of the Universe.”

A smattering of more distant galaxies also litter the background, and a handful of foreground stars are also visible throughout the Hubble image.

“Have you ever wondered why the stars in Hubble images are surrounded by four sharp points?” the astronomers said.

“These are called diffraction spikes, and are created when starlight diffracts — or spreads around — the support structures inside reflecting telescopes like Hubble.”

“The four spikes are due to the four thin vanes supporting Hubble’s secondary mirror and are only noticeable for bright objects like stars where a lot of light is concentrated on one spot.”

“Darker, more spread-out objects like the galaxies LEDA 48062 and UGC 8603 do not possess visible diffraction spikes.”

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