Sunday’s ‘Image of the Day’: A Blazing Galaxy & Its Nuclear Star-Forming Ring

 

           Potw1212a (1)

 

The ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured a member of the Leo I group of galaxies, in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The galaxy Messier 95 stands face-on, offering an ideal view of its spiral structure. The spiral arms form an almost perfect circle around the galactic center before they spread out, creating a mane-like effect.

Another, perhaps even more striking, feature of Messier 95 is its blazing core: It contains a nuclear star-forming ring, almost 2000 light-years across, where a large proportion of the galaxy’s star formation takes place. This phenomenon occurs mostly in barred spiral galaxies such as Messier 95 and our Milky Way.


In the Leo I group, Messier 95 is outshone by "adjacent" Messier 96 (below). By coincidence Messier 95 is the host of a probable supernova that was first spotted on 17 March 2012. As another coincidence both supernova and galaxy are currently very close to the brilliant planet Mars amongst the stars of Leo.

 

           M96crop_block720

 

The Daily Galaxu via ESO

 

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