Hubble captures a festive bundle of lights during this holiday season

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an irregular dwarf galaxy, UGC 8091, as a festive bundle of lights during this holiday season. NASA/ESA released the image of UGC 8091 on December 20, 2023.

The irregular dwarf galaxy UGC 8091 is located about 7 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Here, UGC stands for the “Uppsala General Catalogue of Galaxies.”

A galaxy is a collection of stars, dust, gas, and invisible dark matter that are held together by their own gravity. The galaxy UGC 8091 contains around one billion stars. This is a small number compared to our Milky Way galaxy, which contains over 100 billion stars.

When a galaxy does not have any particular recognizable shape or structure, it’s called an irregular galaxy, where chaotic blobs of stars are seen. An irregular galaxy usually forms due to the collision of two regular-shaped galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope captured an irregular dwarf galaxy, UGC 8091
View larger. Hubble’s view of the irregular dwarf galaxy, UGC 8091. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA Y. Choi (NOIRLab), K. Gilbert (Space Telescope Science Institute), J. Dalcanton (Flatiron Institute and University of Washington))

The above image of UGC 8091 was captured by Hubble’s two most advanced instruments, the Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

An astonishing twelve filters (with a wavelength range from the mid-ultraviolet to the red end of the visible spectrum) are combined to produce the festive bundle of lights known as UGC 8091.

Two circular regions of red gas are visible within the galaxy. Here the red colors are seen due to the excited hydrogen molecules in hot, energetic stars.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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