May 20, 2024

Hubble Captures a Dwarf Spiral Galaxy with Multiple Mysteries

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a section of the spiral galaxy nicknamed the Needles Eye– an appropriately small name for a dwarf spiral galaxy. The Needles Eye, also understood as NGC 247 and Caldwell 62, is situated about 11 million light-years away in the Sculptor Group, which is the closest group of galaxies to our own (the Local Group). The galaxy was offered its label due to the fact that one end of it features a weird void of stars (not seen in this Hubble close-up, however visible in the broad field view below from ESOs La Silla Observatory).
Listed below the edge of the galaxys disk, smaller sized and more far-off galaxies are noticeable, as well as an extremely bright foreground star that lies in between us and NGC 247.

Caldwell 62 is also house to an item understood as an ultraluminous X-ray source. Scientists have long disputed the nature of these super-bright X-ray sources. Are they stellar-mass black holes gorging on abnormally big quantities of gas? Or are they long-sought “intermediate-mass” black holes, dozens of times more massive than their outstanding counterparts however smaller sized than the beast great voids in the centers of many galaxies? By studying NGC 247 in multiple types of light (visible and infrared using Hubble, and X-rays utilizing the Chandra X-ray Observatory), astronomers have discovered indications that the X-rays are originating from a disk around an intermediate-mass great void.

Hubble Space Telescope image of the spiral galaxy NGC 247 (Caldwell 62), which has the label the Needles Eye. Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Feng (Tsinghua University); Image processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America).
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows an area of the spiral galaxy nicknamed the Needles Eye– an appropriately small name for a dwarf spiral nebula. The Needles Eye, likewise called NGC 247 and Caldwell 62, lies about 11 million light-years away in the Sculptor Group, which is the closest group of galaxies to our own (the Local Group). The galaxy was offered its nickname because one end of it features an odd void of stars (not seen in this Hubble close-up, but visible in the broad field view below from ESOs La Silla Observatory).
This Hubble image zooms into the very edge of the galaxy, on the opposite side of the void. Listed below the edge of the galaxys disk, smaller sized and more far-off galaxies show up, as well as a really bright foreground star that lies between us and NGC 247. Bright red suggests areas of high-density gas and dust, and energetic star formation rather near the edge of the galaxy.
This photo of the spiral nebula NGC 247 was taken utilizing the Wide Field Imager (WFI) at ESOs La Silla Observatory in Chile. NGC 247 is believed to lie about 11 million light-years away in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). It is among the closest galaxies to the Milky Way and a member of the Sculptor Group. Credit: ESO.
The “hole” in Caldwell 62 on the other side of the galaxy is a puzzling mystery. There is a lack of gas in that part of the galaxy, which indicates there isnt much product from which new stars can form. Because star formation has stopped in this location, old, faint stars occupy deep space. Researchers still dont know how this unusual feature formed, however studies hint towards previous gravitational interactions with another galaxy.