The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking new photo of the spiral galaxy NGC 3509.
NGC 3509 is located approximately 350 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo.
This spiral galaxy was discovered on December 30, 1786 by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel.
Also known as Arp 335, LEDA 33446, UGC 6134 and IRAS 11018+0505, it has a diameter of about 215,000 light-years.
“NGC 3509 is an interesting galaxy whose sweeping tidal tail — not visible in this image — offers hints of its evolution,” Hubble astronomers said.
The new image of NGC 3509 includes observations from Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) instrument.
Several filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter.
“Hubble observed NGC 3509 as part of a study that looked at the physical conditions in strongly interacting and merging galaxy nuclei,” the astronomers explained.
“But it found that NGC 3509 has a single, relatively undisturbed nucleus surrounded by a swirl of dust lanes.”
“This suggests that the galaxy has not undergone a major disk-to-disk merger.”
“Instead, NGC 3509 may have had a minor merger with a smaller galaxy, or it may be interacting with a small companion whose gravity is creating the tidal tail.”
“Like most spiral galaxies, NGC 3509 is actively creating new stars,” they added.
“The color red in this image represents near infrared wavelengths of light and showcases star-forming regions along the galaxy’s spiral arms.”
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