|At an estimated distance of 90 million light years away NGC 488 is an
intriguing galaxy despite its distance from us. This galaxy displays
subtle and tightly wound blue spiral arms with a yellowish core. Astronomers
that have recently observed this galaxy note that the stars in the disk are
orbiting the galaxy at a break-neck speed of 360km/s. If this number seems
large to you- bear in mind you are orbiting the center of the Milky Way at
220 km/s. By studying the velocity distribution of stars in a galaxy like
this astronmers attempt to answer fundamental questions concerning the
structure of spiral galaxies. For example, observations of this galaxy confirm
that it is the process of star formation (molecular clouds) and not the
kinematic motions of stars that determine the spiral appearence of spiral
galaxies. Other galaxies similar to NGC 488 include
and NGC 7217.
color production was used to create this image.
Luminance = 120 minutes
Minimum credit line: Tony Kriz/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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