Every now and then, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope glimpses a common object — say, a spiral galaxy — in an interesting or unusual way. A sharply angled perspective, such as the one shown in this Hubble image, can make it seem as if we, the viewers, are craning our necks to see over a barrier into the galaxy’s bright center.

In the case of NGC 3169, this barrier is the thick dust embedded within the galaxy’s spiral arms. Cosmic dust comprises a potpourri of particles, including water ice, hydrocarbons, silicates and other solid material. It has many origins and sources, from the leftovers of star and planet formation to molecules modified over millions of years by interactions with starlight.

NGC 3169 is located about 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Sextans (the Sextant). It is part of the Leo I Group of galaxies, which, like the Local Group that houses our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is part of a larger galactic congregation known as the Virgo Supercluster.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Ho


在NGC 3169的例子中,这个屏障是嵌在星系螺旋臂内的厚厚的尘埃。宇宙尘埃由一大锅粒子组成,包括水冰、碳氢化合物、硅酸盐和其他固体物质。它有许多起源和来源,从恒星和行星形成的残余物,到经过数百万年与星光相互作用而改变的分子。

NGC 3169位于距地球约7000万光年的六分仪星座内。它是狮子座星系群的一部分,就像我们的主星系银河系所在的本地星系群一样,它也是室女座超星系团的一部分。

图片来源:ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Ho

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