90 million light years away lies this nearly perfect spiral galaxy. Rings upon rings of star formation are taking place in the tightly wound bluish arms. Astronomers have taken the temperature of the bulge of the galaxy. They measured an excess energy contained there is likely due to the infall and assimilation of smaller galaxies. Within our own galaxy, we orbit the center at a speed of 220 Kilometers per second. Sounds fast? Well, stars in NGC 488
complete circular orbits at a break-neck speed of 330 Kilometers per second!
However, the concentric rings of star formation are quite stable and persist while all of the stars speed around on their galactic racetrack. Instead of the motion of the stars, the bluish arms are formed by waves of star formation- not unlike groups of people that standup in a stadium to create a "wave" of celebration.
This picture also contains a "few" background galaxies.
Exposure Duration: Luminance 7.5 hours
Click on the above image for a larger
See Also NGC 488 in the Best of AOP gallery.
Thanks to Jay GaBany for allowing me to acquire and process
RGB 3.25:2.75:3.25 (9.25 hours).
TOTAL TIME: 16.75 hours
Credit: Adam Block