Imagine a galaxy and what comes to mind probably looks like NGC 2336, a glittering swirl of stars.
And just a few days before a software glitch temporarily shut down the hubble space telescope, the iconic spaceship sent home a stunning image of the large, beautiful, and bright blue galaxy. NASA uploaded the image of NGC 2336, a galaxy located about 100 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Camelopardalis (also known as the Giraffe), on Friday, March 5, two days before the telescope turned off unexpectedly. (The telescope has from resumption of operations.)
In a statement about the new lookNASA calls NGC 2336 “the quintessential galaxy.” NGC 2336 is a barred spiral galaxy, which means it has a dense center in bar-shaped stars, with arms spiraling out from the ends of the bar. The galaxy is also very large, 200,000 light years in diameter according to the NASA statement.
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This is far from the largest galaxy ever discovered, the honor of which goes to IC 1101, which is 50 times the size of our Milky Way at 5.5 million light years in diameter. Still, it is at the large end of most spiral galaxies, which can measure between about 16,000 light years and 300,000 light years in diameter.
The bright blue stars that flicker along the spiral arms of NGC 2336 make the galaxy especially beautiful. These are young stars that emit a brilliant blue light. At the center of NGC 2336 is a redder, darker area composed mainly of older stars.
The German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel discovered this “quintessential galaxy” in 1876 using a telescope much smaller than Hubble, with a mirror about one-tenth the size of Hubble.
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