≡ Menu

A Galaxy With a Big “S” on Its Chest

Super galaxy, NGC 157. Credit: ESO

Can galaxy NGC 157 leap tall buildings in a single bound, stop a speeding bullet or bend steel in it’s bare hands? This relatively mild-mannered galaxy has a central sweep of stars that resembles a giant “S”, almost just like the comic book hero Superman’s symbol. The image was taken by the HAWK-I (High-Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager) on the Very Large Telescope in Chile. HAWK-I looks in infrared light, allowing us to peer through the gas and dust that normally obscures our view and see parts of NCG 157 that otherwise is hidden from our optical view.

Looking at this and other galaxies like it, astronomers can learn about star formation, as the same processes that are coalescing material and creating stars in NGC 157 also took place around 4.5 billion years ago in the Milky Way to form our own star, the Sun.

NGC 157 is faint — about magnitude 11, but can be seen bigger amateur telescopes. It is located within the constellation of Cetus (the Sea Monster).

For those interested in observing this object, see this post on WikiSky.

And just in case you don’t get the Superman references:

Source: ESO

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nafin February 7, 2011, 10:18 AM

    “I got old money, ‘coulda bought a Dyna-Soar.”

  • Aqua February 7, 2011, 10:23 AM

    Sheepishly grins and adds: Position (J2000): 00h34m48s -08°24’00”

  • joed293 February 8, 2011, 4:12 AM

    Will the Milky Way never stop revealing its secrets? i never knew that our own universe could be viewed so well with a satelite like that!

    Instead of milkyway, i think we should rename it to the other chocolate bar Snicker, cuz of the S

    HAHAHAHA
    Agree?

    • joed293 February 8, 2011, 4:14 AM

      enter emmett troll

    • Emmett February 8, 2011, 4:16 AM

      Okay,
      For one, this is not the Milkyway. This is a galaxy called NGC 157.
      Secondly, we cannot see our own galaxy in such a view with any satelites we have at the moment, the pictures you see are digital representations of astronomy data.
      Finally, the milkyway chocolate bar was named after the galaxy, not the other way around, and renaming it after another chocolate bar would be plane idiotic.

      Infact, I think you should appologise for your childish behaviour.

      • forj February 8, 2011, 7:10 AM

        Great Scott!!!

        *if we are naming galaxies after candy bars – the Caramello Galaxy has a nice ring to it : )

  • joed293 February 8, 2011, 10:40 AM

    I can only apologise profusely and infinitely for the incompetance of a certain bad astronomer who used my very own account to spread ignorance throughout ths wonderful website; some sort of cyber crime.
    By the way, forj, the Caramello Galaxy sounds pretty fantastic! How many confectionary products cross over with astronomy?
    I can think of Mars, Galaxy, Titan, Mlky Way, Mars Planets, Magic Stars, Flying Suacers, Caramel(lo galaxy)

    Anymore confectionary/astronomy links?

  • RUF February 9, 2011, 11:11 PM

    They named a [dwarf] planet after a cartoon dog… so who’s being silly?

hide