Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hubble Shows New Image of Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841

Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Acknowledgment: M. Crockett and S. Kaviraj (Oxford University, UK), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (STScI), and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a majestic disk of stars and dust lanes in this view of the spiral galaxy NGC 2841.

A bright cusp of starlight marks the galaxy's center. Spiraling outward are dust lanes that are silhouetted against the population of whitish middle-aged stars. Much younger blue stars trace the spiral arms.

Notably missing are pinkish emission nebulae indicative of new star birth. It is likely that the radiation and supersonic winds from fiery, super-hot, young blue stars cleared out the remaining gas (which glows pink), and hence shut down further star formation in the regions in which they were born. NGC 2841 currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals that are ablaze with emission nebulae.

NGC 2841 lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). This image was taken in 2010 through four different filters on Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. Wavelengths range from ultraviolet light through visible light to near-infrared light.

Acknowledgment: M. Crockett and S. Kaviraj (Oxford University, UK), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (STScI), and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee.

Technical facts about this news release:

Object Name: NGC 2841
Object Description: Flocculent Spiral Galaxy
Position (J2000): R.A. 9h 22m 02.64s Dec. +50° 58' 35.47"
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: About 46 million light-years (14 million parsecs)
Dimensions: The image is 2.6 arcminutes (34,000 light-years or 10,500 parsecs) wide.

About the Data Data Description: The image was created from Hubble data from proposal 11360: R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Balick (University of Washington), H. Bond (STScI), D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts), M. Carollo (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich), M. Disney (University of Wales, College of Cardiff), M. Dopita (Australian National University), J. Frogel (Ohio State University Research Foundation), D. Hall (University of Hawaii), J. Holtzman (New Mexico State University), P. McCarthy (Carnegie Institution of Washington), F. Paresce (European Southern Observatory, Germany), A. Saha (NOAO/AURA), J. Silk (University of Oxford), A. Walker (NOAO/CTIO), B. Whitmore (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and E. Young (University of Arizona).

Instrument: WFC3/UVIS
Exposure Date(s): January 5-7, 2010
Exposure Time: 2 hours
Filters: F336W (U), F547M (y), F657N (H-alpha + [N II]), and F814W (I)

Color: This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the WFC3 instrument on HST. Several filters were used to sample broad and narrow wavelength ranges. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:
  • F336W (U) blue
  • F547M (y) green
  • F657N (H-alpha + [N II]) red-orange
  • F814W (I) red