NGC 1376, a beautiful snowflake in Eridanus

NGC 1376, a beautiful snowflake in Eridanus

NGC 1376 is a snowflake-shaped spiral galaxy located more than 180 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. It is moving away from us at a speed of 4152 km/s.

Concentrated along the spiral arms of NGC 1376, bright blue knots of glowing gas highlight areas of active star formation. These regions show an excess of light at ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths because they contain brilliant clusters of hot, newborn stars that are emitting UV light.

The less intense, red areas near the core and between the arms consist mainly of older stars. The reddish dust lanes are colder, denser regions where interstellar clouds may collapse to form new stars. Visually intermingled between the spiral arms is a sprinkling of reddish background galaxies.

The galaxy was home to supernovae SN 1990go, SN 2003lo and SN 2011dx, of which supernova SN 1990go rivaled the brightness of the entire nucleus from ground-based telescopes for several weeks in 1990.

This bluish-white galaxy belongs to a class of spirals that are seen nearly face on from our line of sight. This orientation aids astronomers in studying details and features of the galaxy from an unobscured vantage point.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The image was taken by a team led by Rodger Thompson Rodger Thompson (University of Arizona)

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