A cosmic megamaser

Esahubble_potw1652a_1024

esahubble_potw1652a December 26th, 2016

Credit:   ESA/Hubble & NASAAcknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (geckzilla)

  This galaxy has a far more exciting and futuristic classification than most — it is a megamaser. Megamasers are intensely bright, around 100 million times brighter than the masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way. The entire galaxy essentially acts as an astronomical laser that beams out microwave emission rather than visible light (hence the ‘m’ replacing the ‘l’). This megamaser is named IRAS 16399-0937, and is located over 370 million light-years from Earth. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image belies the galaxy’s energetic nature, instead painting it as a beautiful and serene cosmic rosebud. The image comprises observations captured across various wavelengths by two of Hubble’s instruments: the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). NICMOS’s superb sensitivity, resolution, and field of view gave astronomers the unique opportunity to observe the structure of IRAS 16399-0937 in detail. They found that IRAS 16399-0937 hosts a double nucleus — the galaxy’s core is thought to be formed of two separate cores in the process of merging. The two components, named IRAS 16399N and IRAS 16399S for the northern and southern parts respectively, sit over 11 000 light-years apart. However, they are both buried deep within the same swirl of cosmic gas and dust and are interacting, giving the galaxy its peculiar structure. The nuclei are very different. IRAS 16399S appears to be a starburst region, where new stars are forming at an incredible rate. IRAS 16399N, however, is something known as a LINER nucleus (Low Ionization Nuclear Emission Region), which is a region whose emission mostly stems from weakly-ionised or neutral atoms of particular gases. The northern nucleus also hosts a black hole with some 100 million times the mass of the Sun!

Provider: Hubble Space Telescope | ESA

Image Source: https://esahubble.org/images/potw1652a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Baltimore, MD, United States

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
IRAS 16399-0937
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Activity > AGN > Liner
Esahubble_potw1652a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 16h 42m 40.1s
DEC = -9° 43’ 13.8”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
1.1 x 0.9 arcminutes
Constellation
Ophiuchus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Orange Hubble (ACS) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Orange Hubble (ACS) Optical (H-Alpha) 656.0 nm
Cyan Hubble (ACS) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Red Hubble (NICMOS) Infrared (H) 1.6 µm
Blue Hubble (ACS) Optical (B) 435.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Orange
Orange
Cyan
Red
Blue
Esahubble_potw1652a_1280
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ID
potw1652a
Subject Category
C.5.3.2.4  
Subject Name
IRAS 16399-0937
Credits
  ESA/Hubble & NASAAcknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (geckzilla)
Release Date
2016-12-26T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://esahubble.org/images/potw1652a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
ACS, ACS, ACS, NICMOS, ACS
Color Assignment
Orange, Orange, Cyan, Red, Blue
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Infrared, Optical
Bandpass
I, H-Alpha, I, H, B
Central Wavelength
814, 656, 814, 1600, 435
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
250.66726129, -9.72049930723
Reference Dimension
1262.0, 1031.0
Reference Pixel
631.0, 515.5
Scale
-1.38826728306e-05, 1.38826728306e-05
Rotation
-0.039999999999985866
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
https://esahubble.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
ESA Office, Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
United States
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1652a
Metadata Date
2016-09-12T16:09:05+02:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.

 

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