NASA and ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a fantastic image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4571 using its Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). The WFC3 captured separate exposures in the visible and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum and utilized several specialized filters. The monochromatic images captured with different filters were assigned hues and then combined to create the beautiful, colorful image seen below. If you’d like to learn more about how scientists colorize images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, check out this video we covered in 2019.
The spiral galaxy NGC 4571, also known as IC 3588, LEDA 42100 or UGC 7788, is located approximately 60 million light-years away in the Coma Berenices constellation. The constellation is named after an Egyptian queen who lived more than two millennia ago. NGC 4571 is part of the Virgo cluster, containing more than a thousand galaxies. That cluster is part of the larger Virgo supercluster, which includes the Local Group containing our galaxy.
|Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team|
The European Space Agency (ESA) writes, ‘This image comes from a large program of observations designed to produce a treasure trove of combined observations from two great observatories: Hubble and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).’ ALMA is a large radio telescope comprising 66 high-precision antennas in the Chilean Andes. Combined, the observations from Hubble and ALMA observe at wavelengths between infrared and radio waves. ALMA detects the clouds of interstellar dust that birth new stars. Hubble performs observations at UV wavelengths, allowing astronomers to locate hot, newly-formed stars. NASA continues, ‘Together, the ALMA and Hubble observations provide a vital repository of data to astronomers studying star formation, as well as laying the groundwork for future science with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.’
Speaking of the James Webb Space Telescope, in case you missed it, about two weeks ago, NASA announced that the new space telescope’s optics are working correctly. Webb is in space and successfully undergoing its mission-critical mirror and optical alignment processes. NASA anticipates that the telescope will commence scientific observations on schedule, and we should see its first deep space photos this summer. It’s going to be a great year for deep space photography.