The galaxy known as NGC 4848 is packed full of young stars and spiralling “arms”, but it is the faint glow around it which intrigued NASA. Surrounding the galaxy, which is 316 million light-years from the Milky Way, is a faint, ghostly glow. This is caused by gas and dust surrounding the galaxy reflecting on the immense light from the stars, giving it the “ghostly” appearance.
What’s more, if you have a telescope and are in the Northern Hemisphere, you could see the galaxy.
NASA said: “A notable feature of most spiral galaxies is the multitude of arching spiral arms that seemingly spin out from the galaxy’s center.
“In this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the stunning silvery-blue spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 4848 are observed in immense detail.
“Not only do we see the inner section of the spiral arms containing hundreds of thousands of young, bright, blue stars, but Hubble has also captured the extremely faint, wispy tails of the outer spiral arms.
“Myriad more distant and delightfully diverse galaxies appear in the background.
“This wispy barred spiral galaxy was first discovered in 1865 by the German astronomer Heinrich Louis d’Arrest.
“In his career, Heinrich also notably discovered the asteroid 76 Freia and many other galaxies, and he also contributed to the discovery of Neptune.
“If you are situated in the Northern Hemisphere with a large telescope, you might just be able to observe the ghost-like appearance of this faint galaxy within the faint constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair).”
The 30-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is reaching the end of its life cycle and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) set to take its place next year.
The JWST is so powerful it will reach back to the furthest realms and the earliest moments of the universe.
JWST, which is named after NASA’s second administrator James Webb who served from 1961 to 1968 and played a major part in the Apollo missions, has the capability of scanning thousands of planets for alien life – even though those planets are thousands of light-years away.
One of the major differences between Hubble and JWST will be how far back in time it will be able to see.
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Hubble can see far into space and is essentially looking back in time as light travels to the craft.
Through Hubble, experts have been able to view the formation of the first galaxies, about one billion years after the Big Bang.
However, as JWST is much more powerful, it will be able to see just 0.3 billion years after the Big Bang to when visible light itself was beginning to form.
JWST will also be situated much farther out in space than Hubble.
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