ALMA photographed the “galaxy-flamethrower”

This photo was taken with the help of the ALMA radio telescope complex. It demonstrates the galaxy NGC 3627.

Galaxy NGC 3627. Source: ESO/PHANGS

NGC 3627 is located at a distance of 31 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Leo. Like our Milky Way, it is classified as a spiral galaxy. 

When looking at the ALMA image, it seems that NGC 3627 is a “flamethrower galaxy”, spewing fiery jets from its magnificent spiral branches. In fact, the “lights” are clouds of cold molecular gas from which stars are formed. As for the blue areas in the background, they are formed by older, already formed luminaries. Their image was taken by the multi-element spectrograph MUSE (Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) mounted on the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Observations of NGC 3627 were carried out as part of the PHANGS project. Its purpose is to photograph nearby galaxies with high resolution on various telescopes in the entire range of colors and wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. The use of different wave ranges can reveal many physical features of the observed galaxies. Comparing these features helps astronomers understand what initiates, accelerates or slows down the birth of new stars.

Earlier we talked about how ALMA photographed the “pinwheel galaxy”.

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