Crack in the universe: Incredible new image of a distant galaxy seen from side-on
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:16 AM on 10th November 2010
Like a thin band of light stretched across space, it looks like some sort of intergalactic letterbox.
But this extraordinary image is in fact is a distant galaxy called NGC 4452, captured as it lies directly edge-on to Earth.
The result is an extraordinary picture taken by the Hubble space telescope of billions of stars observed from an unusual angle. The bright nucleus can be seen at the centre, along with the very thin disc that looks like a straight line from our unusual viewing position.
This astonishing shot shows a distant galaxy seen from side-on so it looks like a thin strip of light
A hazy halo of stars on the periphery of the galaxy makes it seem to glow.
NGC 4452 was first seen by William Herschel in 1784 with his 18.5inch telescope in England. He described the object as a bright nebula, small and very much elongated. The new Hubble image shows just how elongated this unusual object really is.
Galaxies typically contain many billions of stars and can also be grouped in galaxy clusters. NGC 4452 is part of the Virgo Cluster which lies approximately 60 million light-years distant and contains around 2000 galaxies.
Our own Milky Way is also believed to be extremely thin.
- United KingdomAdd your comments
Here’s what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below, or debate this issue live on our message boards.
The comments below have not been moderated.
– dave, reading, 9/11/2010 23:00
We don’t exist in a time machine dave. We exist because we are created beings. We simply cannot control the time we percieve, we just live in the moment of now and always have. As we live in the moment of now our minds become full of things we percieve as past events. There is no time but right now. We do not move. At any given moment we are standing still and not moving, like frames of a picture. We percieve motion because we always look back in our minds where we were. You know Zeno and his paradox, it’s like that. The quantum zeno effect has brought that back to the fore once more. The question being is who moves us? My theory is God does. His will is done.
– Teddy Robbear, Scotland, 10/11/2010 23:13
While knowing virtually nothing about astronomy, I think I am right in saying that what I beheld in the dead of winter in the Tswapong Hills when I worked out there was great swathe of the Milky Way skewed brilliantly in the Southern Sky. Then again, I might just have been phished.
– kt o’connor, london, 10/11/2010 19:16
So does this mean the Earth could be flat after-all!!!!!!
– Alan, Eastbourne, 10/11/2010 18:26
You get quite a lot of space cadets on the science pages, I note.
– Space Dust, Manchester, 10/11/2010 12:11
Whatever you do, don’t mention “Doctor Who”. It sets them right off….
– Dave, Liverpool, 10/11/2010 16:04
Thanks, Keith of E Sussex.
We are so dependent, but if the composition was substantially different the pattern groups would not match those of our sun. The lines do not move relative to each other; they are all shifted by the same amount. That is also why a receding object does not ‘look’ more red; red light shifts down to infra-red, orange shifts towards red, yellow towards orange, and so on, with ultra-violet shifting down to visible violet. We can tell the spectrum has ‘moved’ only because of the diplacement of the absorption lines.
If the absoption lines form a different pattern, we can run a lab test to find which elements form that star’s pattern and then we know what that distant star is made of, as well as its red (or blue) shift. As you may already know, helium was identified from its absorption lines in the solar spectrum before it was discovered on Earth. Hence its name, Helium: Helios means Sun.
– Bern, Sandhurst, 10/11/2010 15:49
billions and billions
– shazz, scotland, 10/11/2010 14:22
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Add your comment