A Galactic Powerhouse

This image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3254, observed using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). WFC3 has the capacity to observe ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared light, and this image is a composite of observations taken in the visible and infrared. In this image, NGC 3254 looks like a typical spiral galaxy, viewed side-on. However, NGC 3254 has a fascinating secret that it is hiding in plain sight — it is a Seyfert galaxy, meaning that it has an extraordinarily active core, known as an active galactic nucleus, which releases as much energy as the rest of the galaxy put together. 

Seyfert galaxies are not rare — about 10% of all galaxies are thought to be Seyfert galaxies. They belong to the class of “active galaxies” — galaxies that have supermassive black holes at their centres that are actively accreting material, which releases vast amounts of radiation as it is accreted. There is a second, far more active, type of active galaxy that is known as a quasar. The active cores of Seyfert galaxies, such as NGC 3254, are brightest when observed in light outside the visible spectrum. At other wavelengths, this image would look very different, with the galaxy’s core shining extremely brightly.

Links

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.

About the Image

Id:potw2124a
Type:Observation
Release date:14 June 2021, 06:00
Size:3644 x 3081 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 3254
Distance:63 light years
Constellation:Leo Minor

Image Formats

Large JPEG
5.5 MB
Screensize JPEG
360.6 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
385.5 KB
1280x1024
653.3 KB
1600x1200
1010.8 KB
1920x1200
1.2 MB
2048x1536
1.7 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):10 29 23.83
Position (Dec):29° 30' 6.70"
Field of view:2.41 x 2.03 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 7.3° left of vertical


Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
Long pass
350 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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