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NGC 4631 is a spiral galaxy found only 25 million light-years away, toward the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. Seen ege-on, the galaxy is similar in size to the Milky Way. Its distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. The large galaxy's small, remarkably bright elliptical companion NGC 4627 lies just above its dusty yellowish core, but also identifiable are recently discovered, faint dwarf galaxies within the halo of NGC 4631. In fact, the faint extended features below (and above) NGC 4631 are now recognized as tidal star streams. The star streams are remnants of a dwarf satellite galaxy disrupted by repeated encounters with the Whale that began about 3.5 billion years ago. Even in nearby galaxies, the presence of tidal star streams is predicted by cosmological models of galaxy formation, including the formation of our own Milky Way.
Image Credit & Copyright: R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Observatory)
Collaboration: David Martínez-Delgado (University of Heidelberg), et al.
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I am in Washington, DC the next few weeks doing a summer project working with Tim Spuck and AUI’s Office of Education and Public Engagement (http://epe.aui.edu/about-oepe/). I did the awesome Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program - ACEAP with them in 2016. I’ll also be networking and catching up with friends and colleagues. Let me know if you are in the DC area the next few weeks and maybe we can get together! #education#networking#astronomy#publicengagement#professionaldevelopmentprograms
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Behold: see galaxies like never before! Astronomers have used the unparalleled sharpness & spectral range of the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) to create the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light look at nearby star-forming galaxies.
The researchers combined new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies in the local universe, offering a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution. The project, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), has amassed star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves. The data provide detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters, and how their environment affects their development.
Seen here is a look at one of the galaxies included in the LEGUS survey. It is a spiral galaxy located in the Canes Venatici constellation about 20 million light-years away from Earth.