Gorgeous Ring of Stellar Wildfire Captured by Hubble Space Telescope

NGC 1614, an eccentrically-shaped galaxy ablaze with activity, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Adamo

NGC 1614, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is an eccentrically-shaped galaxy ablaze with activity. The galaxy resides about 200 million light-years from Earth and is nestled in the southern constellation of Eridanus (The River).

NGC 1614 is the result of a past galactic merger that created its peculiar appearance. The cosmic collision also drove a turbulent flow of interstellar gas from the smaller of the two galaxies involved into the nucleus of the larger one, resulting in a burst of star formation which started in the core and slowly spread outwards through the galaxy.

Owing to its turbulent past and its current appearance, astronomers classify NGC 1614 as a peculiar galaxy, a starburst galaxy, and a luminous infrared galaxy. Luminous infrared galaxies are among the most luminous objects in the local Universe — and NGC 1614 is, in fact, the second most luminous galaxy within 250 million light-years.

AstronomyEuropean Space AgencyHubble Space TelescopeNASAPopular
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  • Reginald J Cummins


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