Webb Studies Star Formation in NGC 7469

by johnsmith

NGC 7469 is a very luminous, face-on barred spiral galaxy approximately 90,000 light-years in diameter.

This Webb image shows NGC 7469, a barred spiral galaxy some 206 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus. The galaxy has blue-purple hues with orange-red regions filled with stars. NGC 7469’s companion galaxy, IC 5283, is partly visible in the lower left portion of this image. Also visible is large diffraction spike, which appears as a star pattern over the central region of the galaxy. Lots of stars and galaxies fill the background scene. Image credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / Webb / L. Armus / A.S. Evans.

NGC 7469 is located approximately 206 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus.

Also known as LEDA 70348 or Mrk 1514, the galaxy has a diameter of 90,000 light-years.

First discovered on November 12, 1784 by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel, it is also classified as Seyfert galaxy.

NGC 7469 hosts to an active supermassive black hole and a circumnuclear starburst ring with a radius of 500 parsecs (1,631 light-years).

Together with its smaller spiral companion, IC 5283, it forms the galaxy pair Arp 298.

“NGC 7469 is home to an active galactic nucleus (AGN), which is an extremely bright central region that is dominated by the light emitted by dust and gas as it falls into the galaxy’s central black hole,” Webb astronomers said.

“This galaxy provides us with the unique opportunity to study the relationship between AGNs and starburst activity because this particular object hosts an AGN that is surrounded by a starburst ring at a distance of a mere 1,600 light-years.”

“While NGC 7469 is one of the best studied AGNs in the sky, the compact nature of this system and the presence of a great deal of dust have made it difficult for us to achieve both the resolution and sensitivity needed to study this relationship in the infrared.”

“Now, with Webb, we can explore the galaxy’s starburst ring, the central AGN, and the gas and dust in between.”

Using Webb’s MIRI, NIRCam and NIRspec instruments to obtain images and spectra of NGC 7469 in unprecedented detail, the astronomers uncovered a number of details about the object.

“This includes very young star-forming clusters never seen before, as well as pockets of very warm, turbulent molecular gas, and direct evidence for the destruction of small dust grains within a few hundred light-years of the nucleus — proving that the AGN is impacting the surrounding interstellar medium,” they said.

“Furthermore, highly ionized, diffuse atomic gas seems to be exiting the nucleus at roughly 6.4 million km per hour (4 million mph) — part of a galactic outflow that had previously been identified, but is now revealed in stunning detail with Webb.”

“With analysis of the rich Webb datasets still underway, additional secrets of this local AGN and starburst laboratory are sure to be revealed.”

Source link: https://www.sci.news/astronomy/webb-star-formation-ngc-7469-11500.html

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