Hubble captures spiral galaxy in the Furnace

Spiral galaxy NGC 986 in the constellation of Fornax
This new Hubble image is a snapshot of NGC 986 — a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), discovered by James Dunlop in 1828. This close-up view of the galaxy was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Image credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

This new image is an almost face-on portrait of NGC 986 in the southern constellation of Fornax, captured by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). It’s an 11th-magnitude galaxy some 56 million light-years away.

Barred spirals are galaxies with a central bar-shaped structure. NGC 986 has the characteristic S-shaped structure of this type of galactic morphology. Young blue stars can be seen dotted amongst the galaxy’s arms and the golden core of the galaxy is active with star formation.

The top right of this image appears a little fuzzy because of a gap in Hubble’s observations which was filled with data from ground-based instruments. Although their view of this filled-in section is accurate, the resolution of the stars is no match for Hubble’s clear depiction of NGC 986.