NASA telescope snaps photograph of a lurking black hole blanketed in stars

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has pointed its instruments at the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, showcasing thousands of star-forming regions.

1 minute & 24 seconds read time

NASA has highlighted a new image snapped by its iconic Hubble Space Telescope, this time concentrating on the barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 5068.

NGC 5068 by Hubble

NGC 5068 by Hubble

As the space agency explains in its blog post, NGC 5068 is a barred spiral galaxy that contains thousands of dense star-forming regions, with each region varying in age. NASA writes that these regions also contain various quantities of interstellar dust. As for location, NGC 5068 is approximately 20 million light-years from Earth and resides in the constellation Virgo.

An unmissable point of the image is the bright bar located at the top center. This region of space is densely packed with mature stars, and behind them is a black hole pulling all of the stars closer and closer together with its intense gravitational pull. The bright pinkish-red smudges or dots across the image are regions of space that contain ionized hydrogen gas or locations of young star clusters. Another nice find within this time is the existence of 110 Wolf-Rayet stars, which are a type of star that burns its fuel (loses mass) at a very high rate.

These stars are typically 25 times the mass of our Sun and are 1 million times more bright.

"NGC 5068 is difficult to see with human eyes because it has relatively low surface brightness. Luckily, Hubble's ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared capabilities helped capture the beauty and intrigue of this galaxy. Different cosmic objects emit different wavelengths of light; young and hot stars emit ultraviolet light, so Hubble uses ultraviolet observations to find them," writes NASA

Webb has also imaged NGC 5068.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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