Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) has taken a beautiful image of the central part of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 2217.
Otherwise known as LEDA 18883, AM 0619-271 and ESO 489-42, this galaxy was discovered on January 20, 1835 by the English astronomer John Herschel.
NGC 2217 is the central component of a concentration of galaxies called the NGC 2217 group.
“This barred spiral galaxy is a similar size to our Milky Way at 100,000 light-years across,” Hubble astronomers said.
“Many stars are concentrated in its central region forming the luminous bar, surrounded by a set of tightly wound spiral arms.”
“The central bar in these types of galaxies plays an important role in their evolution, helping to funnel gas from the disk into the middle of the galaxy,” the researchers explained.
“The transported gas and dust are then either formed into new stars or fed to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center.”
“Weighing from a few hundred to over a billion times the mass of our Sun, supermassive black holes are present in almost all large galaxies.”