This smattering of celestial sequins is a spiral galaxy named NGC 4455, located in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair). This might sound like an odd name for a constellation — and in fact it is somewhat unusual. It’s the only modern constellation to be named in honor of a real person from history: Queen Berenice II of Egypt.

The story of Queen Berenice II is an interesting one. A ruling queen of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene in modern-day Libya, and later a queen of Ptolemaic Egypt through her marriage to her cousin Ptolemy III Euergetes, Berenice became known for sacrificing locks of her hair as an offering to ensure her husband’s safe return from battle. Her husband did indeed return safely, and her hair, which she had left in a Zephyrium temple, had disappeared — it had apparently been stolen and placed among the stars.

Should it be located in NGC 4455, it traveled a long way. The galaxy is about 45 million light-years away. This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, I. Karachentsev et al.

这些散布的亮片是一个名为NGC 4455的螺旋星系,位于后发座(伯伦尼斯二世的头发)的北部。这可能听起来像一个星座的奇怪名字——事实上,这有点不寻常。它是唯一一个以历史上真实人物的名字命名的现代星座:埃及女王贝勒尼基二世。


如果它位于NGC 4455中,它则经历了一段很长的旅途。这个星系距离我们约有4500万光年。这张照片是由NASA/ESA哈勃太空望远镜的高级巡天照相机拍摄的。

文字来源:ESA (European Space Agency)
影像来源:ESA/Hubble & NASA, I. Karachentsev et al.

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