VLT Sees Elegant Spiral with Explosive Past

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has produced this beautiful image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4981.

This VLT image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4981. The bright star visible in the image is a foreground star. Image credit: ESO / Josh Barrington.

 NGC 4981 resides roughly 73 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.
Also known as LEDA 45574 and MCG-01-34-003, this galaxy was discovered on April 17, 1784 by the English astronomer William Herschel.
Over a century later, on April 23, 1968, NGC 4981 once again made it into the records when a Type Ia supernova occurred within its confines: SN 1968i.
SN 1968i, however, was not to be the galaxy’s only supernova.
Almost four decades later, the core collapse of a massive star led to supernova SN 2007c.
This spectacular shot of NGC 4981 — not showing any of the supernovae explosions — was captured by VLT’s visible and near-UV FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS) instrument.
FORS is the Swiss Army knife of ESO’s instruments — it is able to study many different astronomical objects in many different ways.
This instrument is responsible for some of the most iconic photos ever captured with the VLT.
A version of this image was entered into the Hidden Treasures competition by amateur astronomer Josh Barrington.
(From: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/vlt-spiral-galaxy-ngc-4981-04651.html)

  Copyright © The Institute of Optics And Electronics, The chinese Academy of Sciences
Address: Box 350, Shuangliu, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Email:dangban@ioe.ac.cn Post Code: 610 209 备案号:蜀ICP备05022581号