From Manu Garcia of IAC: “NGC 1365, two visions of the same galaxy.”


Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

The universe around us.
Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

An elegant galaxy in an unusual light.

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NGC 1365.

A new image taken with the powerful HAWK-I camera from the ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile shows the beautiful barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 in infrared light. NGC 1365 is a member of the Fornax cluster of galaxies and lies about 60 million light years from Earth.

ESO HAWK-I the ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile

ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

NGC 1365 is one of the best known and most studied barred spiral galaxies and is nicknamed sometimes as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy because of its remarkable perfect form, with the straight bar and two very prominent outer spiral arms. Closer to the center there is also a second spiral structure and the galaxy is shrouded in dust delicate features.

This galaxy NGC 1365 is an excellent laboratory for astronomers to study how they form and develop barred spiral galaxies. The new infrared images from HAWK-I, previous image, are less affected by the dust that obscures parts of the galaxy, as with visible light images, see next image, and reveal very clearly the glow from vast numbers of stars in both the bar and the spiral arms. This information was obtained to help astronomers understand the complex flow of material into the galaxy and how it affects the gas reserves from which can form new galaxies. The huge bar disturbs the shape of the gravitational field of the galaxy and this affects areas where gas is compressed and star formation triggered. Many huge young star clusters outline the main arm each containing hundreds of thousands of bright young stars that are less than ten million years. Galaxy is very remote as to be able to observe individual stars in this image and most visible tiny spots in this picture are really star clusters. Throughout the galaxy they are forming stars at a rate of about three times the mass of our Sun every year.

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Comparison of images of the galaxy NGC 1365 in visible light (left) and infrared (right).

While the bar of the galaxy consists mainly of older stars that have already passed its fullness, many new stars are born in “stellar nurseries” of gas and dust in the inner spiral close to the nucleus. The bar also funnels gas and dust gravitationally into the center of the galaxy, where astronomers have found evidence of the presence of a supermassive black hole, well hidden among a large number of new stars glowing same.

NGC 1365 , including its two huge outer spiral arms, spreads over 200,000 light-years. A different parts of the galaxy take different times they make a full rotation around the center of the galaxy. The outer parts of the bar completing one circuit in about 350 million years. NGC 1365 and other galaxies of its type have gained more notoriety in recent years with new observations indicating that the Milky Way may also be a barred spiral galaxy. Such galaxies are quite common: two – thirds of spiral galaxies are barred according to recent estimates, and studying others can help astronomers understand our own galactic home.

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Additional Information.
ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organization in Europe and the most productive astronomical observatory in the world. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. ESO carries out an ambitious program focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing that allow astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organizing cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique observing sites world-class Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced optical observatory. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project. ESO is currently planning a European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, optical and close to 42 meters in diameter, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky” infrared telescope.

ESO LaSilla
ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO VLT
VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

ESO Vista Telescope
ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

ESO NTT
ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO VLT Survey telescope
VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

ALMA Array
ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

ESO E-ELT
ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

ESO APEX
APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)[/caption

See the full article here .

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