C’mon Yahoo

Yahoo! has an article from Space.com which talks about a Hubble image of three interacting galaxies known as Arp 194. Upon reading the article, I noticed there was a picture of the winner of the recent Hubble contest. Naturally, I assumed I was reading an article about that galactic trio. But then I realized the name of that image was Arp 274, not the Arp 194 mentioned in the third graf. So what was going on? Well, it’s pretty simple. Yahoo! took the Arp 274 image and placed it – misleadingly – next to the article about Arp 194. No misreading. No misinterpretation. No mistake on my part. Yahoo! just decided to put up an incorrect picture. Next they’ll talk about the president and put up an image of Jefferson.

Anyway, here’s the image that was being discussed.

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Beautiful Hubble image

It completely slipped my mind that the winner of the Hubble contest had been released until I saw the absurd number of searches for “Hubble” on my stats page. The winner is ARP 274.

On April 1-2, the Hubble Space Telescope photographed the winning target in the Space Telescope Science Institute‚Äôs ‘You Decide’ competition in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA).

The winner is a group of galaxies called Arp 274. The striking object received 67,021 votes out of the nearly 140,000 votes cast for the six candidate targets.

Arp 274, also known as NGC 5679, is a system of three galaxies that appear to be partially overlapping in the image, although they may be at somewhat different distances. The spiral shapes of two of these galaxies appear mostly intact. The third galaxy (to the far left) is more compact, but shows evidence of star formation.

Two of the three galaxies are forming new stars at a high rate. This is evident in the bright blue knots of star formation that are strung along the arms of the galaxy on the right and along the small galaxy on the left.

The largest component is located in the middle of the three. It appears as a spiral galaxy, which may be barred. The entire system resides at about 400 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.

Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 was used to image Arp 274. Blue, visible and infrared filters were combined with a filter that isolates hydrogen emission. The colors in this image reflect the intrinsic color of the different stellar populations that make up the galaxies. Yellowish older stars can be seen in the central bulge of each galaxy. A bright central cluster of stars pinpoint each nucleus. Younger blue stars trace the spiral arms, along with pinkish nebulae that are illuminated by new star formation. Interstellar dust is silhouetted against the starry population. A pair of foreground stars inside our own Milky Way are at far right.

The International Year of Astronomy is the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first observations with a telescope. People around the world came together to participate in the IYA’s 100 Hours of Astronomy, April 2 to 5. This global astronomy event was geared toward encouraging as many people as possible to experience the night sky.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

ARP 274

ARP 274

Hubble Contest

The Hubble image contest has been completed. The winner, by a landslide, is the Interacting Galaxies. I can only presume, humbly, that it was my endorsement of this image that made it the winner.

Arp 274 is a pair of galaxies. Drawn together by their gravity, they are starting to interact. The spiral shapes of these galaxies are mostly intact, but evidence can be seen of the gravitational distortions they are creating within each other. When galaxies interact and merge together, the gas clouds inside them often form tremendous numbers of new stars.

More detailed images of Arp 274 (the winner) will be released soon. In the meantime, here’s another image of interacting galaxies (Arp 148).

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Hubble image to be released between April 2 and 5

Come back to see the Hubble picture of Arp 274, released between April 2-5 during 100 Hours of Astronomy, a worldwide event focused on renewing interest in the night sky.