NASA has released a stunning new image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of the irregular galaxy LEDA 6430.
LEDA 6430 lies approximately 15 million light-years away from Earth in the small southern constellation of Phoenix.
Also designated as ESO 245-5 or HIPASS J0145-43, this galaxy is about 15,000 light-years across.
“The Hubble image of LEDA 6430 shows a densely packed field of stars, laid on top of a background of dust, gas, and light from more distant celestial objects,” the Hubble astronomers said in a statement.
“The stars take up so much of the field of view in the image that it is a little tricky to discern that you are in fact looking at most of the galaxy.”
“Another reason that it is perhaps a little tricky to spot that LEDA 6430 is a galaxy is its apparent lack of structure,” the astronomers added.
“We frequently enjoy Hubble’s spectacular images of spiral galaxies, which are so interesting to look at in part because of their seemingly extraordinarily ordered arms of stars, gas and dust.”
“LEDA 6430, in contrast, is classified as an IB(s)m type galaxy under the system of galaxy classification known as the De Vaucouleurs system.”
“The IB(s)m designation specifically means that the galaxy is irregular (I), barred (B), has a slight spiral structure (s), and is of the Magellanic type (m).”
“Irregular in this context is quite intuitive: the galaxy does not appear to have a regular, ordered structure,” they said.
“In fact, essentially the entire view here is covered by the stars of this galaxy.”
“The second term means that the galaxy has a barred shape at its center: this is the dense stretch of stars that crosses through the center of this image.”
“The third term says that there are hints of a spiral structure, but nothing clear or definitive (hence the ‘s’ is bracketed).”
“Finally, the last term indicates LEDA 6430’s similarity to the Magellanic clouds, the two dwarf galaxies that are close neighbors of the Milky Way.”
The color image of LEDA 6430 was made from separate exposures taken in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument.
Five filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter.