Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Massive Nearby Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841
Posted on 04/21/2014 7:43:44 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: It is one of the more massive galaxies known. A mere 46 million light-years distant, spiral galaxy NGC 2841 can be found in the northern constellation of Ursa Major. This sharp view of the gorgeous island universe shows off a striking yellow nucleus and galactic disk. Dust lanes, small, pink star-forming regions, and young blue star clusters are embedded in the patchy, tightly wound spiral arms. In contrast, many other spirals exhibit grand, sweeping arms with large star-forming regions. NGC 2841 has a diameter of over 150,000 light-years, even larger than our own Milky Way and captured by this composite image merging exposures from the orbiting 2.4-meter Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope. X-ray images suggest that resulting winds and stellar explosions create plumes of hot gas extending into a halo around NGC 2841.
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[Credit: Hubble, Subaru; Composition & Copyright: Robert Gendler]
It would be fantastic to see what our own Galaxy looks like from such a view, but I believe I an safely assume that will never happen.
I’ve always been curious about the center of our galaxy. If it wasn’t obscured by dust, etc, would it be as bright in the sky as our sun?
That is a GREAT question.
I think that it wouldn’t be, mainly because the core is so far away. Also, even without the dust and gas, there are a large number of dimmer stars that would block out at least some of the light from the core. I know that sounds odd, but, think Algol.
As it is, there are some holes in the dust and gas towards the core. M 24, a great star cloud in the direction of the core, is actually one of these holes (at least, according to my Sky Safari software). You are looking through the Sagittarius arm of the galaxy, and on into the Norma arm, and THAT isn’t even the core, but, in front of it.
Now, if our galaxy was a Seyfert galaxy (a galaxy with an active core) it would be much brighter.
Beyond that, it would take an expert on the core.
What a GOOD question.