It’s Wednesday, so that means its time for another “Where In The Universe” challenge to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. See if you can name where in the Universe this image is from, and give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. Make your guess and post a comment, but please no links to the answer. Check back sometime on Thursday to find the answer and see how you did.
UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below.
I chose a Hubble image this week, in honor of the current Hubble Servicing Mission. This is, as many of you said, the Cartwheel Galaxy.
The Cartwheel is a ring galaxy, lying about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. It has been tidally distorted by an encounter with another galaxy into a ring-and-hub structure.
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The striking cartwheel appearance is the result of a smaller intruder galaxy having careened through the core of the larger system, which was probably once a normal spiral similar to the Milky Way. Like a pebble tossed in a lake, the collision sent a ripple of energy into space, plowing gas and dust in front of it.
Expanding at a rate of more than 300,000 km/h, this cosmic tsunami left a burst of new star creation in its wake. Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, including the one shown here, have resolved bright blue knots that are gigantic clusters of newborn stars and immense loops and bubbles blown into space by supernovae.
Sounds incredibly violent, but it sure makes a pretty picture!
Check back next week for another WITU challenge!