More Than Meets the Eye

Tendrils of dark dust can be seen threading across the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 7172 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy lies approximately 110 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. The lane of dust threading its way across NGC 7172 — which is viewed side-on in this image — is obscuring the luminous heart of the galaxy, making NGC 7172 appear to be nothing more than a normal edge-on spiral galaxy. 

When astronomers inspected NGC 7172 across the electromagnetic spectrum they quickly discovered that there was more to it than meets the eye: NGC 7172 is a Seyfert galaxy — a type of galaxy with an intensely luminous active galactic nucleus powered by matter accreting onto a supermassive black hole

This image combines data from two sets of Hubble observations, both of which were proposed to study nearby active galactic nuclei. The image also combines data from two instruments — Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFCS).

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. J. Rosario, A. Barth

Acknowledgement: L. Shatz

About the Image

Id:potw2213a
Type:Observation
Release date:28 March 2022, 06:00
Size:3105 x 3163 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 7172
Type:Unspecified : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Constellation:Piscis Austrinus
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
192.8 KB

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1024x768
165.0 KB
1280x1024
275.2 KB
1600x1200
429.3 KB
1920x1200
555.3 KB
2048x1536
752.4 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):22 2 1.47
Position (Dec):-31° 52' 17.76"
Field of view:2.05 x 2.09 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 173.9° left of vertical


Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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