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NASA Spots Galaxy Moving Away From Earth At 3.5 Million Miles Per Hour

by : Lucy Connolly on : 07 Jul 2020 16:42
NASA Spots Galaxy Moving Away From Earth At 3 Million Miles Per HourNASA Spots Galaxy Moving Away From Earth At 3 Million Miles Per HourHubble Space Telescope/NASA

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking photo of a fleeing galaxy 60 million light-years away.

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The galaxy, known as NGC 7513, can be found in the Sculptor constellation just above the Southern Hemisphere – though it apparently doesn’t want to stick around for long.

Why? Because the galaxy appears to be moving away from the Milky Way at almost 3.5 million miles per hour. To put that into context, the Earth orbits the sun at just 67,108 miles per hour.

Milky WayMilky WayPixabay

While the galaxy’s rapid movement away from the Milky Way might seem strange, it’s actually not that unusual; many galaxies appear to be moving in opposite directions because the universe is expanding. As that expansion occurs, the space between each galaxy stretches.

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Similar to our own Milky Way, the galaxy is a barred spiral one, simply meaning it features a central structure of stars shaped like a bar. This structure can affect the movement of the stars and the gas within the galaxy.

The image was shared on Hubble’s site yesterday, July 6, along with a brief description of what the picture shows and the coordinates of the galaxy. NGC 7513’s type, distance and constellation are all listed too.

Check out the incredible photo below:

galaxy fleeing from earthgalaxy fleeing from earthESA/Hubble and NASA/M. Stiavelli

This phenomenon is just one of the many discoveries of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which is named after Edwin Hubble – the pioneering astronomer whose work led to the revelation that our galaxy was one of many.

Hubble’s work forever changed the perspective of many people regarding the world and Earth’s place in the universe, with the telescope continuing to do this decades after his death.

The astronomer didn’t stop there though; he continued his work and soon discovered that distant galaxies appeared to be moving rapidly, suggesting we live in an expanding universe that started with the big bang.

Although some galaxies appear to move apart, as is the case with NGC 7513 and the Milky Way, others are trapped because of their gravitational pull.

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Spiral galaxySpiral galaxyESA/Hubble and NASA/J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team

While the image of NGC 7513 is the latest one captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, it’s not the only one captured in recent weeks; in fact, just last week, another spiral galaxy was captured. This one is called NGC 2275 and is located 67 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.

An explanation on Hubble’s site reads: ‘There is virtually no star formation in the central part of the galaxy which is dominated by an unusually large and relatively empty galactic bulge, where all the gas was converted into stars long ago.’

Pretty incredible, right?

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Science, Earth, galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, Now

Credits

Hubble Space Telescope and 1 other
  1. Hubble Space Telescope

    The Sculpted Galaxy

  2. Hubble Space Telescope

    Birds of a Feather