This week’s image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4571, located 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices, and was captured using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 instrument.
“This image comes from a large program of observations designed to produce a treasure trove of combined observations from two great observatories: Hubble and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA),” Hubble scientists write. “ALMA is a vast telescope consisting of 66 high-precision antennas high in the Chilean Andes, which together observe at wavelengths between infrared and radio waves. This allows ALMA to detect the clouds of cool interstellar dust which give rise to new stars.”
The combination of Hubble and ALMA observations makes a great pairing for observing targets using different wavelengths. “Hubble’s razor-sharp observations at ultraviolet wavelengths, meanwhile, allow astronomers to pinpoint the location of hot, luminous, newly formed stars,” the Hubble scientists continue. “Together, the ALMA and Hubble observations provide a vital repository of data to astronomers studying star formation, as well as laying the groundwork for future science with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.”
Like Hubble, ALMA has been used to study a variety of targets, from distant objects like a series of planets in various stages of formation to those in our own solar system like Jupiter and its complex atmosphere. The array even contributed to large-scale projects like the discovery of a trove of ancient, massive galaxies which gave clues to the earliest stages of the universe.
The galaxy NCG 4571 was imaged as part of the PHANGS-HST project (Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS with the Hubble Space Telescope) between Hubble and ALMA. This survey aims to learn about how young stars form from clouds of gas by looking at nearby galaxies. A previous Hubble image of the week, of the beautiful spiral galaxy NCG 2835, was part of this same project.
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