Hubble Spots Stunning Spiral Snowflake Galaxy

Posted: May 15 2016, 8:18am CDT | by , Updated: May 15 2016, 9:45pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Hubble Spots Stunning Spiral Snowflake Galaxy
Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

The galaxy NGC 6814 has an extremely bright nucleus and spiral arms, forming a complicated pattern of dark dust.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a stunning spiral galaxy that looks like a snowflake.

The galaxy, named NGC 6814, is located 74.4 million light years away from Earth. It has an extremely bright nucleus and sweeping arms, forming an intricate pattern of dark dust. The luminous nucleus of NGC 6814 indicates that the galaxy belongs to the class of seyfert galaxy. 

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on

Seyfret galaxies have a characteristic bright core with small, intensely bright nuclei. These galaxies can emit strong bursts of radiation when viewed at infrared wavelength. The bright heart of the galaxy NGC 6814 is causing scientists to suspect that it may carry a suppermassive black hole in its center and the black hole could be as massive as 18 suns. 

The spiral arms of the galaxy are bright blue. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) describes the galaxy in this way. “Clouds of gas and dust billow and waft in the foreground of NGC 6814 which lies some 68 million light years away. Thus the reality is that many directions are dimmed or completely hidden from view due to the busy inner workings of our own home. We are lucky that NGC 6814 is an intrinsically bright galaxy and its light skirts some of the thickest clouds of the Milky Way.”

The galaxy is active and filled with star-forming material. Recently, the bright galaxy is bursting with brilliant blue stars that are easily visible scattered throughout the galaxy. 

Spiral galaxies together with irregular galaxies make up nearly 60 percent galaxies of the local universe. Though, all spiral galaxies have a gradually widening curve. Still they look remarkably different from each other. According to, roughly 60 percent of spiral galaxies contain multiple spiral arms while 10 percent have only two. The remaining 30 percent lack a well defined shape and their spiral arms continue to change over time.

NASA blog says. “Despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique – like snowflakes, no two are alike.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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