Edge-on view highlights galaxy’s dust lanes, hides spiral structure

This stunning Hubble Space Telescope image shows galaxy NGC 1032, at a distance of some 100 million light years in the constellation Cetus, provides an edge-on view showing dust lanes in the plane of the star swarm, the central bulge at its core, an extended halo of stars and gas and a scattering of galaxies in the distant background.

“NGC 1032 is actually a spectacular spiral galaxy, but from Earth, the galaxy’s vast disc of gas, dust and stars is seen nearly edge-on,” according to a European Space Agency description.

“A handful of other galaxies can be seen lurking in the background, scattered around the narrow stripe of NGC 1032. Many are oriented face-on or at tilted angles, showing off their glamorous spiral arms and bright cores. Such orientations provide a wealth of detail about the arms and their nuclei, but fully understanding a galaxy’s three-dimensional structure also requires an edge-on view. This gives astronomers an overall idea of how stars are distributed throughout the galaxy and allows them to measure the ‘height’ of the disc and the bright star-studded core.”

A stunning edge on view of galaxy NGC 1032 some 100 million light years away. Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA