Portrait of a Swirling Galaxy: Hubble Peers Inside Horologium “The Clock”

Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy IC 1954. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team

The spiral galaxy IC 1954 takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy, which lies approximately 45 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Horologium (The Clock), boasts a bright central bar and lazily winding spiral arms threaded with dark clouds of dust.

This portrait of IC 1954 was captured with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, and is one of a set of observations designed to take advantage of some telescope teamwork. Hubble observed groups of young stars in nearby galaxies at ultraviolet and optical wavelengths while the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array — a ground-based radio telescope — gathered data on star-forming discs and clouds of cold gas. Combining the two sets of observations allowed astronomers to join the dots and understand the connections between young stars and the clouds of cold gas which give rise to them.

These observations also lay the groundwork for future observations with the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, which will peer into nearby galaxies and observe the earliest phases of star formation.

AstronomyEuropean Space AgencyHubble Space TelescopeNASAPopular