By ESA/Hubble
January 18, 2021

Galaxy NGC 4535

Galaxy NGC 4535, a disallowed spiral nebula located some 54 million light years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, as imaged by the Hubble Area Telescope. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Group

Located in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin), around 50 million light-years from Earth, NGC 4535 is genuinely a stunning sight to witness. In spite of the amazing quality of this image, taken from the NASA/ ESA Hubble Area Telescope, NGC 4535 has a hazy, rather ghostly, appearance when viewed from a smaller telescope. This led amateur astronomer Leland S. Copeland to nickname NGC 4535 the “Lost Galaxy” in the 1950 s.

The brilliant colors in this image aren’t just gorgeous to look at, as they really tell us about the population of stars within this disallowed spiral nebula. The intense blue-ish colors, seen nestled amongst NGC 4535’s long, spiral arms, show the existence of a higher number of younger and hotter stars. In contrast, the yellower tones of this galaxy’s bulge suggest that this central area is house to stars that are older and cooler.

This galaxy was studied as part of the PHANGS survey, which aims to clarify many of the links between cold gas clouds, star development, and the overall shape and other homes of galaxies. On January 11, 2021, the very first release of the PHANGS-HST Collection was made publicly readily available.


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