About two thirds of spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, feature a central bar of stars and long arms spiralling loosely around the nucleus. NGC 613, discovered in 1798 by William Hershel, provides a textbook example as seen in this beautifully detailed image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and released 11 January. NGC 613 is located about 67 million light years from Earth in the southern constellation Sculptor.
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Twin Jet Nebula highlights the shimmering colours, shells and knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of material stretch outwards from a central star system. Within these lobes two huge jets of gas are streaming from the star system at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour.
NGC 4639 is a beautiful example of a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral. It lies over 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo and is one of about 1500 galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster. But NGC 4639 also conceals a dark secret in its core — a massive black hole that is consuming the surrounding gas and known as an active galactic nucleus (AGN).