Dark energy camera photographed a “gentle” galaxy in the constellation Sculptor

The presented image was obtained using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) installed on the 4-meter Victor Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. It shows the galaxy NGC 289.

Galaxy NGC 289. Source: CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA

NGC 289 is located at a distance of 75 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sculptor. Like the Milky Way, it is classified as a spiral galaxy with a bar. At the same time, NGC 289 is much larger than our galaxy. Its bluish spiral arms extend more than 100 thousand years into the surrounding space.

The differences between the two galaxies do not end there. NGC 289 is also classified as a Seyfert galaxy. It has a bright core that shows increased activity. The galaxy also contains a large number of star clusters. This indicates a recent outbreak of star formation in it.

At the same time, despite all this activity, NGC 289 has a rather low surface brightness, which, coupled with the widely spread spiral arms, gives it a “delicate” appearance. Astronomers attribute this feature to the fact that the galaxy contains a large amount of mysterious dark matter.

That is why NGC 289 is chosen as a target for DECam observations. The camera is one of the most advanced astronomical instruments of our time, which is based on a network of 62 devices with extremely sensitive CCD arrays. They are necessary to obtain detailed images of galaxies  to identify subtle patterns of cosmic structure caused by the influence of dark energy and dark matter.

According to https://noirlab.edu

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