Published: Wed, January 08, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Hubble marks 30th anniversary year with portrait of massive barred spiral galaxy

Hubble marks 30th anniversary year with portrait of massive barred spiral galaxy

This is the rotation curve of galaxies that are tracking the motion around their centers. The stars in the outer spirals were orbiting so fast they should have flown apart hinting that here was an extraordinary amount of matter missing.

This telescope has discovered one more marvel in this new year. That in turn provided evidence for the existence of dark matter. The galaxy is embedded inside a vast halo of dark matter.

The cosmic monster has also been called "Rubin's galaxy" in honour of the astronomer Vera Rubin.

The biggest known galaxy in the local universe, UGC 2885, is referred to as a gentle giant by the planetary experts and scientists. Not exclusively is it estimated to be around 2.5 instances a large as our Milky Way, however, it's packing around 10 occasions extra stars. The galaxy was named by Benne Holwerda of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, who observed the galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope.

UGC 2885 has been known to astronomers for several years, and its rotation was measured by astronomer Vera Rubin in the 1980s. "We consider this a commemorative picture. This goal to cite Dr. Rubin in our observation was very much part of our original Hubble proposal". In fact, its supermassive central black hole is a sleeping giant, too. A number of foreground stars in our Milky Way can be seen in the image, identified by their diffraction spikes.

This galaxy is really far from us - it's located at about 232 million light-years away from our home planet.

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This new Hubble image of Rubin's Galaxy is part of results that Holwerda presented at the American Astronomical Society's Annual Meeting.

"It's as big as you can make a disk galaxy without hitting anything else in space", said Holwerda.

It may be that the galaxy consumed smaller nearby galaxies in the past or it could possibly have slowly accreted gas for new stars.

It's not just the star-formation process that's slow in this galaxy.

"How it got so big is something we don't quite know yet", said Benne Holwerda, an astronomer investigating the sleeping giant. Many big galaxies such as the Milky Way become bigger by swallowing up other galaxies, but it appears as though this may not be the case for UGC 2885. NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope will also provide an advanced census of the cluster population of the galaxy. "The infrared capability of both space telescopes would give us a more unimpeded view of the underlying stellar populations", said Holwerda.

Astronomers are still somewhat confused about the size and calmness of UGC 2885.

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