NGC 3259, a bright spiral galaxy in Ursa Major

NGC 3259, a bright spiral galaxy in Ursa Major

NGC 3259 (also designated UGC 5717) is a bright barred spiral galaxy located approximately 110 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

The bright core of this galaxy is inhabited by a supermassive black hole that is consuming anything around it. This galactic feast emits intense radiation across the whole electromagnetic spectrum, including visible light, what explains the high luminosity of the galaxy’s core.

The well formed spiral arms of NGC 3259 have abundant dark lanes of dust and gas which are dotted with numerous bright blue spots. These spots are rich globular clusters full of bright, young, hot stars. These new stars are blue – which gives the entire galaxy a blue complexion.

The galaxy has a small companion named LEDA 213712 (visible to the left of the image), a much smaller galaxy that is most likely orbiting NGC 3259, like the Magellanic Clouds are orbiting around our own Milky Way Galaxy.

In the background, numerous distant galaxies can be seen, easily identifiable by their elliptical shapes. They are visible here mainly in infrared light, which is shown in red in this image.

This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

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