ALMA captured the “Snake Galaxy”

The presented image was obtained using the ALMA radio telescope complex, as well as the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Outwardly, it somewhat resembles a sleeping snake curled up in rings. Of course, in reality it is a deep space object — or rather, the spiral galaxy NGC 1087.


NGC 1087 is located at a distance of 80 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation of Cetus. Like our Milky Way, it has a bar — but it is quite small compared to other spiral galaxies. Another distinctive feature of NGC 1087 is its tiny core. At the moment, astronomers do not know what such a structural feature of the galaxy is connected with.

As we have already noted, the ALMA image is a combination of images taken at different wavelengths. The red color corresponds to clouds of cold molecular gas, from which stars are then formed. Their images were obtained by ALMA. The bluish areas in the background are clusters of older, already formed luminaries. They were photographed by VLT.

The NGC 1087 image was taken as part of the PHANGS project (Physics at High Angular resolutionin Nearby GalaxieS). Its project participants perform high-resolution observations of nearby galaxies using telescopes that record radiation in different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. This allows us to learn about the physical properties of stars, gas and dust in galaxies. Comparing the data obtained in this way, astronomers are trying to understand what activates, accelerates or slows down the birth of new stars.

You can also read about the amazing shock waves that occurred when two galactic clusters collided.

According to

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