Hubble Obtains Image of NGC 6951 Galaxy Featuring Radiant Blue Spirals and Ancient “Circumnuclear Ring”

by Klaus Müller
10 comments
Hubble Space Telescope's Imaging of NGC 6951

This elaborate photograph of NGC 6951, a galaxy situated in the constellation of Cepheus, has been acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit goes to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, A. Filippenko (University of California – Berkeley), R. Foley (University of California – Santa Cruz), C. Kilpatrick (Northwestern University), and D. Sand (University of Arizona); with processing by Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America).

The Hubble Space Telescope operated by NASA has taken an intricate photograph of NGC 6951, an important galaxy located in the Cepheus constellation. This galaxy is highly valued by astronomers for its storied history of star formation, its unique categorizations, and the occurrence of multiple supernovae, offering crucial perspectives into the mechanisms of the universe.

Luminous blue spirals encircle the radiant white nucleus of this celestial galaxy. The recently acquired image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope showcases NGC 6951, an intermediate spiral galaxy that lies 78 million light-years distant in the constellation of Cepheus.

Initially discovered separately by French astronomer Jerome Coggia in 1877 and American astronomer Lewis Swift in 1878, NGC 6951 has captivated the scientific community with its complex stellar history. Peak rates of star formation occurred approximately 800 million years ago, followed by a 300-million-year period of relative inactivity before resuming star creation. Star clusters in this galaxy have an average age range of 200 to 300 million years, though some clusters have existed for as long as one billion years. Dark red areas representing turbulent gas regions enclose the luminous blue points that are star clusters.

Taxonomy and Features of NGC 6951

Astronomers commonly categorize NGC 6951 as a Type II Seyfert galaxy, a subtype of active galaxies characterized by substantial emission of infrared radiation and the slow circulation of gaseous matter near its core. Alternatively, some astronomers label NGC 6951 as a low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER) galaxy, akin to a Type II Seyfert but with a cooler central region emitting weakly ionized or neutral atoms like oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. The entire galaxy spans about 75,000 light-years and is observable from the northern hemisphere due to its proximity to the northern celestial pole.

Core of the Galaxy and Its Supernova Phenomena

At the heart of NGC 6951 is a supermassive black hole encircled by a band of stars, gas, and dust that measures around 3,700 light-years in diameter. This “circumnuclear ring” is estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 billion years old and has been engaged in star formation for the majority of its existence. Scientists propose that cosmic gas is channeled through the galaxy’s dense, star-filled bar to this circumnuclear ring, providing additional material for new star generation. Up to 40% of the ring’s mass is attributed to relatively youthful stars that are less than 100 million years old. Connecting the galaxy’s core to its outer peripheries are lanes of dust, depicted in dark orange, providing more matter for impending star genesis.

Several stars within NGC 6951 have undergone extraordinary stellar explosions, known as supernovae. As many as six supernovae have been documented in this galaxy over the past quarter-century. Researchers persist in their study of NGC 6951 to gain a more nuanced understanding of the conditions conducive to the formation of supernovae. Analysis of emissions from these supernovae assists astronomers in comprehending the characteristics of the originating star, such as its age, brightness, and location. The image utilized data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), spanning both visible and infrared wavelengths.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hubble Space Telescope’s Imaging of NGC 6951

What galaxy is the article about?

The article is about NGC 6951, an intermediate spiral galaxy located in the Cepheus constellation.

Who captured the detailed image of NGC 6951?

The detailed image of NGC 6951 was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

What are the unique features of NGC 6951?

The unique features of NGC 6951 include its radiant blue spiral arms, a luminescent white center, and an ancient “circumnuclear ring” that has been forming stars for up to 1.5 billion years.

What type of galaxy is NGC 6951 commonly classified as?

NGC 6951 is commonly classified as a Type II Seyfert galaxy, known for emitting large amounts of infrared radiation and having slow-moving gaseous matter near its center.

What is the significance of NGC 6951 for astronomers?

NGC 6951 is significant for astronomers as it offers crucial insights into star formation, supernova events, and the mechanisms of the universe. It serves as an object of study to better understand the conditions that lead to the formation of supernovae.

What kind of data was used to create the image of NGC 6951?

The image utilized data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), spanning both visible and infrared wavelengths.

How many supernovae have been observed in NGC 6951?

As many as six supernovae have been observed in NGC 6951 in the past 25 years.

Where is NGC 6951 located in the sky?

NGC 6951 is situated in the Cepheus constellation and is observable from the northern hemisphere due to its proximity to the northern celestial pole.

Who originally discovered NGC 6951?

NGC 6951 was independently discovered by French astronomer Jerome Coggia in 1877 and American astronomer Lewis Swift in 1878.

How old is the circumnuclear ring at the center of NGC 6951?

The circumnuclear ring at the center of NGC 6951 is estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 billion years old.

More about Hubble Space Telescope’s Imaging of NGC 6951

You may also like

10 comments

KarenW October 6, 2023 - 11:33 pm

The bit about supernovae got me thinking. 6 in the past 25 years? That’s a lot of action for one galaxy. Makes you wonder whats next.

Reply
GalaxyLover October 6, 2023 - 11:38 pm

I gotta say this makes me want to study astronomy. The universe is so full of wonders n we’re just starting to scratch the surface.

Reply
BettyS October 7, 2023 - 12:59 am

Anyone else mind-blown by the age of that circumnuclear ring? Billion years? That’s hard to even grasp.

Reply
AstroFan99 October 7, 2023 - 2:55 am

Seriously, this is amazing! i didn’t know NGC 6951 had so much going on. Blue arms and a billion-year old ring… just wow.

Reply
EduardoV October 7, 2023 - 9:46 am

Great article, but im still wondering about the types of stars that are forming in that circumnuclear ring. Any chance for a follow-up article?

Reply
JohnDoe October 7, 2023 - 12:14 pm

Wow, never thought galaxies could be this fascinating. The Hubble’s done it again, huh?

Reply
SkyWatcher October 7, 2023 - 5:40 pm

Type II Seyfert galaxy, huh? Gonna have to look that up. Always more to learn.

Reply
CuriousMindy October 7, 2023 - 7:47 pm

This is why I love science. it answers some questions but then asks a dozen more. Keeps the mind active, y’know?

Reply
TimTheEnthusiast October 7, 2023 - 8:55 pm

Hubble never ceases to amaze me. Just when u think you’ve seen it all, it reveals a galaxy like NGC 6951. Keep it coming!

Reply
ScienceGeek October 7, 2023 - 10:01 pm

Hubble’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Those pics are pure gold for researchers and curious folks alike.

Reply

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

SciTechPost is a web resource dedicated to providing up-to-date information on the fast-paced world of science and technology. Our mission is to make science and technology accessible to everyone through our platform, by bringing together experts, innovators, and academics to share their knowledge and experience.

Subscribe

Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

© 2023 SciTechPost

en_USEnglish