Galactic Cherry Blossom

The galaxy NGC 1156 resembles a delicate cherry blossom tree flowering in springtime in this Hubble Picture of the Week. The many bright "blooms" within the galaxy are in fact stellar nurseries — regions where new stars are springing to life. Energetic light emitted by newborn stars in these regions streams outwards and encounters nearby pockets of hydrogen gas, causing it to glow with a characteristic pink hue.

NGC 1156 is located in the constellation of Aries (The Ram). It is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy, meaning that it lacks a clear spiral or rounded shape, as other galaxies have, and is on the smaller side, albeit with a relatively large central region that is more densely packed with stars. 

Some pockets of gas within NGC 1156 rotate in the opposite direction to the rest of the galaxy, suggesting that there has been a close encounter with another galaxy in NGC 1156's past. The gravity of this other galaxy — and the turbulent chaos of such an interaction — could have scrambled the likely more orderly rotation of material within NGC 1156, producing the odd behaviour we see today.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble, NASA, R. Jansen

About the Image

Id:potw1927a
Type:Observation
Release date:8 July 2019, 06:00
Size:3180 x 2848 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 1156
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Irregular
Local Universe : Galaxy : Size : Dwarf
Constellation:Aries
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

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3.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
274.9 KB

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Coordinates

Position (RA):2 59 42.11
Position (Dec):25° 14' 16.86"
Field of view:2.65 x 2.37 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 90.0° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
r
625 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
N II
658 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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