Hubble Space Telescope picture of spiral nebula NGC 7172. Credit: ESA/Hubble & & NASA, D. J. Rosario, A. Barth, Acknowledgement: L. Shatz
Tendrils of dark dust can be seen threading across the heart of the spiral nebula NGC 7172 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy lies around 110 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. The lane of dust threading its way throughout NGC 7172– which is viewed side-on in this image– is obscuring the luminous heart of the galaxy, making NGC 7172 seem nothing more than a regular edge-on spiral nebula.
When astronomers checked NGC 7172 throughout the electro-magnetic spectrum they rapidly found that there was more to it than meets the eye: NGC 7172 is a Seyfert galaxy– a type of galaxy with an intensely luminescent active galactic nucleus powered by matter accreting onto a supermassive great void.
This image integrates data from 2 sets of Hubble observations, both of which were proposed to study close-by active galactic nuclei. The image likewise integrates data from 2 instruments– Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFCS).
March 27, 2022