NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 22 December 2022: The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the day is a mesmerizing snapshot of a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Fornax.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 22 December 2022: The Andromeda Galaxy is one of the most distant, yet easily visible objects to the eye. Spanning across nearly 260,000 light-years, this nebulous cloud resides in the constellation Andromeda. However, this is not the only galaxy known to man other than our own Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, a previous image captured by the Hubble space telescope had revealed over 10,000 galaxies in a small patch of sky. One of them is the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy.

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing snapshot of the region NGC 1365, also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy. It is located in the constellation of Fornax and the reddish swirls around the galaxy shows where stars have just formed as well as the future sites of star nurseries. The image was captured by Martin Pugh via roll-off roof observatory at his rural property in Yass, Australia.

NASA explained below the image,” Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the faint but heated constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax Cluster of galaxies.”

This impressively sharp color image shows the intense, reddish star forming regions near the ends of the central bar and along the spiral arms, with details of the obscuring dust lanes cutting across the galaxy’s bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365’s prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy’s evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole,” the agency explained further.

About Star Nurseries

The makeup of a Nebula consists of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. Although these gases are spread out, they can be pulled together by gravity. As they clump together, their gravity increases by such an amount that the gas cloud collapses, causing the material at the center of the core to heat up, and this is the birth of a star, according to NASA. This is why a Nebula is also called a Star Nursery.

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