Sculpted in Sculptor: An Incredibly Beautiful Barred Spiral Galaxy

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, G. Folatelli

First discovered in 1798 by German-English astronomer William Hershel, NGC 613 is a galaxy that lies in the southern constellation of Sculptor  67 million light-years away. 

Featured here in a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NGC 613 is a lovely example of a barred spiral galaxy. It is easily distinguishable as such because of its well defined central bar and long arms, which spiral loosely around its nucleus. As revealed by surveys, about two thirds of spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way galaxy, contain a bar. 

Recent studies have shown that bars are more common in galaxies now than they were in the past, which gives us important clues about galaxy formation and evolution.

A barred spiral galaxy is a spiral galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars. Bars are found in about half of all spiral galaxies. Bars generally affect both the motions of stars and interstellar gas within spiral galaxies and can affect spiral arms as well. The Milky Way Galaxy, where the Solar System is located, is classified as a barred spiral galaxy.

AstronomyEuropean Space AgencyHubble Space TelescopeNASA