NASA'S Hubble Celebrates 21st Anniversary With "Rose" Of Galaxies

WASHINGTON -- To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space
Telescope's deployment into space, astronomers at the Space Telescope
Science Institute in Baltimore pointed Hubble's eye at an especially
photogenic pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The new image
is available at:


"For 21 years, Hubble has profoundly changed our view of the universe,
allowing us to see deep into the past while opening our eyes to the
majesty and wonders around us," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
said."I was privileged to pilot space shuttle Discovery as it
deployed Hubble. After all this time, new Hubble images still inspire
awe and are a testament to the extraordinary work of the many people
behind the world's most famous observatory."

Hubble was launched April 24, 1990, aboard Discovery's STS-31 mission.
Hubble discoveries revolutionized nearly all areas of current
astronomical research from planetary science to cosmology.

"Hubble is America's gift to the world," Sen. Barbara Mikulski of
Maryland said. "Its jaw-dropping images have rewritten the textbooks
and inspired generations of schoolchildren to study math and science.
It has been documenting the history of our universe for 21 years.
Thanks to the daring of our brave astronauts, a successful servicing
mission in 2009 gave Hubble new life. I look forward to Hubble's
amazing images and inspiring discoveries for years to come."

The newly released Hubble image shows a large spiral galaxy, known as
UGC 1810, with a disk that is distorted into a rose-like shape by the
gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as
UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewel-like points across the top is the
combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue
stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light.

The smaller, nearly edge-on companion shows distinct signs of intense
star formation at its nucleus, perhaps triggered by the encounter
with the companion galaxy.

Arp 273 lies in the constellation Andromeda and is roughly 300 million
light-years away from Earth. The image shows a tenuous tidal bridge
of material between the two galaxies that are separated from each
other by tens of thousands of light-years.

A series of uncommon spiral patterns in the large galaxy are a
tell-tale sign of interaction. The large, outer arm appears partially
as a ring, a feature seen when interacting galaxies actually pass
through one another. This suggests the smaller companion dived deep,
but off-center, through UGC 1810. The inner set of spiral arms is
highly warped out of the plane, with one of the arms going behind the
bulge and coming back out the other side. How these two spiral
patterns connect is not precisely known.

The larger galaxy in the UGC 1810 - UGC 1813 pair has a mass about
five times that of the smaller galaxy. In unequal pairs such as this,
the relatively rapid passage of a companion galaxy produces the
lopsided or asymmetric structure in the main spiral. Also in such
encounters, the starburst activity typically begins in the minor
galaxies earlier than in the major galaxies. These effects could be
because the smaller galaxies have consumed less of the gas present in
their nuclei, from which new stars are born.

The interaction was imaged on Dec. 17, 2010, with Hubble's Wide Field
Camera 3 (WFC3). The picture is a composite of data taken with three
separate filters on WFC3 that allow a broad range of wavelengths
covering the ultraviolet, blue, and red portions of the spectrum.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation
between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science
Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is
operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy Inc. in Washington.

For image files and more information about Arp 273 and Hubble, visit:




For the greatest hits of Hubble videos and images, visit:


Source: NASA

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