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Hubble’s image offers clear view of barred spiral

Last Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 21:04

Washington: Most spiral galaxies in the Universe have a bar structure in their centre.

Now, new image taken by Hubble Space Telescope has offered a particularly clear view of one of these.

The telescope has taken a picture of a barred spiral galaxy called NGC 1073, which is found in the constellation of Cetus.

Galaxies’ star-filled bars are thought to emerge as gravitational density waves funnel gas toward the galactic centre, supplying the material to create new stars. The transport of gas can also feed the supermassive black holes that lurk in the centres of almost every galaxy.

Some astronomers have suggested that the formation of a central bar-like structure might signal a spiral galaxy’s passage from intense star-formation into adulthood, as the bars turn up more often in galaxies full of older, red stars than younger, blue stars.

This would also account for the observation that in the early Universe, only around a fifth of spiral galaxies contained bars, while more than two thirds do in the more modern cosmos.

The Hubble Space Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA. It was carried into orbit in 1990 and is still operational.


First Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 21:04

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