The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of the central part of the isolated barred spiral galaxy NGC 2903.
This Hubble image shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 2903. The color image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by Hubble’s ACS and WFC3 instruments. Six filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / L. Ho / J. Lee / PHANGS-HST Team.
NGC 2903 is located approximately 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo.
The galaxy was discovered on November 16, 1784 by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel.
Otherwise known as LEDA 27077, UGC 5079 and IRAS 09293+2143, NGC 2903 has an extremely high speed of creating new stars in its central region.
“This image of NGC 2903 was captured using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), which were installed on the telescope in 2002 and 2009 respectively,” Hubble astronomers said.
“Interestingly, Hubble has observed this particular galaxy before, in 2001, when neither the ACS or the WFC3 had yet been installed.”
“The 2021 image boasts higher resolution, which means that NGC 2903 is more finely detailed than in the 2001 image.”
“The ACS and WFC2 collectively cover a wide range of ultraviolet, optical and infrared wavelengths, which means that the 2021 image also has superior wavelength coverage to that of its 20-year-old predecessor.”
“The 2001 image was taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), which was the telescope’s workhorse instrument from 1993 until 2009 when it was replaced by the WFC3.”
“Hubble has a long and fascinating history of crewed service missions, which were performed in order to correct for imperfections in Hubble’s mirror, to update Hubble’s technical systems, and to remove old instruments and install new ones,” the researchers added.
“One of Hubble’s most remarkable features is it’s incredible longevity, and this would not have been possible with the great success of the servicing missions.”
“The juxtaposition of the 2001 and 2021 images of NGC 2903 highlights the value of a stable, accessible platform in space that can reliably collect data, not only year after year, but decade after decade.”