Rings Upon Rings

At first glance, the subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image looks to be a simple spiral galaxy, with two pinwheeling arms emerging from a central bar of stars and material that cuts through the galactic centre. In fact, there are rings within these spiral arms, too: spirals within a spiral. 

This kind of morphology is known as a multiring structure. As this description suggests, this galaxy, named NGC 2273, hosts an inner ring and two outer “pseudorings” — having so many distinct rings is rare, and makes NGC 2273 unusual. Rings are created when a galaxy’s spiral arms appear to loop around to nearly close upon one another, combined with a trick of cosmic perspective. NGC 2273’s two pseudorings are formed by two swirling sets of spiral arms coming together, and the inner ring by two arcing structures nearer to the galactic centre, which seem to connect in a similar way.

These rings are not the only unique feature of this galaxy. NGC 2273 is also a Seyfert galaxy, a galaxy with an extremely luminous core. In fact, the centre of a galaxy such as this is powered by a supermassive black hole, and can glow brightly enough to outshine an entire galaxy like the Milky Way.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Greene

About the Image

Id:potw2014a
Type:Observation
Release date:6 April 2020, 06:00
Size:3924 x 3054 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 2273
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Constellation:Lynx
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
4.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
156.8 KB

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Wallpapers

1024x768
187.2 KB
1280x1024
352.9 KB
1600x1200
585.4 KB
1920x1200
819.7 KB
2048x1536
1.1 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):6 50 8.02
Position (Dec):60° 51' 3.26"
Field of view:2.59 x 2.01 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 6.8° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
438 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
U
336 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
SII
673 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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