Astronomers using the MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have captured a remarkable image of the spiral galaxy NGC 6902.
This image, taken with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shows the spiral galaxy NGC 6902. Image credit: TIMER Survey / ESO.
The galaxy was discovered on September 2, 1836, by the English astronomer John Herschel.
Otherwise known as ESO 285-8 and LEDA 64632, it has a diameter of 210,000 light-years.
NGC 6902 is the main member of a small group of galaxies called the LGG 434 group, or the NGC 6902 group, which also includes IC 4946 and ESO 285-5.
“A zoom in towards the center of NGC 6902, the MUSE image shows a nuclear ring where the orange glow of intense star formation is visible,” ESO astronomers said.
“Inside this ring lies a faint and small bar of stars.”
The astronomers found that stars within this ring are distributed differently depending on their age, with younger stars aligned along the bar and older stars more dispersed.
“These locations of the young and old stars within the central bar of NGC 6902 confirm predictions made years earlier from simulations and models,” they said.
“This is the first time these predictions of galactic structure were confirmed with observations thanks to the incredible spatial resolution of the MUSE instrument.”