Solar System Chatter

Looking Across the Local Void

Left: NASA, ESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts, USA) and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University, USA). Right: ESA/Hubble and NASA
Left: NASA, ESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts, USA) and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University, USA). Right: ESA/Hubble and NASA
This new image of NGC 6503 (below, left) was released today by a team using the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is nicknamed Lost in Space because it exists on the very edge of the Local Void, a 150-million-light-year wide area strangely empty of galaxies. Since it is mostly devoid of mass, the Milky Way is being pulled away from this void (by the gravity of other objects) at about 600,000 miles per hour. Astronomers are focused on NGC 6503 as part of the Hubble Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey, or LEGUS, and is particularly interesting because they believe in its center is a black hole that is being starved by the lack of nearby gas to consume. The image on the right was released in 2010, taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, installed during the telescope’s 2002 servicing mission and offers an interesting contrast to the new image, taken by the Wide Field Camera 3, installed during the last visit in 2009. The former is made mostly from a 28-minute exposure for hydrogen gas to show the star forming regions, while the new image was created for sharper detail, with red showing gas, blue showing new stars, and brown dust throughout.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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Tags:

galaxy, Hubble