Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The International Year of Astronomy, The "You Decide" Winner

The International Year of Astronomy is the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observations with a telescope. People around the world came together to participate in the IYA's 100 Hours of Astronomy, April 2 to 5. This global astronomy event was geared toward encouraging as many people as possible to experience the night sky.


Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Arp 274, also known as NGC 5679, is a system of three galaxies that appear to be partially overlapping in the image, although they may be at somewhat different distances. The spiral shapes of two of these galaxies appear mostly intact. The third galaxy (to the far left) is more compact, but shows evidence of star formation.

Two of the three galaxies are forming new stars at a high rate. This is evident in the bright blue knots of star formation that are strung along the arms of the galaxy on the right and along the small galaxy on the left.

The largest component is located in the middle of the three. It appears as a spiral galaxy, which may be barred. The entire system resides at about 400 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.


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