Mapping the nearby Universe

The distances to objects in the Universe can differ enormously. The nearest star to us — Proxima Centauri — lies some 4.2 light-years from us, while some incredibly distant galaxies are so far away — 13 billion light-years or more — that they are only visible to us as a result of cosmic tricks of magnification.

The subject of this image, a galaxy called ESO 376-16, sits nearly 23 million light-years from Earth — not that great a distance on a cosmic scale. However, given the galaxy’s relative proximity to us, we know surprisingly little about it. Astronomers are still debating about many of the properties of ESO 376-16, including its morphology. Galaxies are divided into types based on their visual appearance and characteristics; spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way, are flattened discs with curved arms sweeping out from a central nucleus, while irregular galaxies lack a distinct structure and look far more chaotic. On the basis of its rather ill-defined morphology, ESO 376-16 is thought to be either a late-type spiral or a dwarf irregular galaxy.

Despite its mystique, observations of ESO 376-16 have been useful in several studies, including one made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope that aimed to create a 3D map of galaxies lying in the vicinity of Earth. Researchers used Hubble to gauge the distance to galaxies including ESO 376-16 by measuring the luminosities of especially bright red-giant-branch stars sitting within the galaxies. They then used their data to generate and calibrate 3D maps of the distribution of galaxies throughout the nearby cosmos.

 

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1739a
Type:Observation
Release date:25 September 2017, 06:00
Size:3961 x 2739 px

About the Object

Name:ESO 376-16
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy
Distance:23 million light years
Constellation:Antlia
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.8 MB
Screensize JPEG
155.5 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
186.3 KB
1280x1024
321.1 KB
1600x1200
478.5 KB
1920x1200
592.3 KB
2048x1536
844.4 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):10 43 26.68
Position (Dec):-37° 2' 10.94"
Field of view:3.30 x 2.28 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 164.8° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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