Hubble’s Galaxy Full of Cosmic Lighthouses

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This lively turn star can be found in a constellation of Ursa Major (the Great Bear). Star-studded NGC 3972 lies about 65 million light-years divided from Earth, definition that a light that we see now left it 65 million years ago, only when a dinosaurs became extinct.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScI/JHU)

NGC 3972 has had a satisfactory share of thespian events. In 2011 astronomers celebrated a blast of a Type Ia supernova in a star (not manifest in this image). These gorgeous objects all rise during a same brightness, and are shining adequate to be seen over vast distances.

NGC 3972 also contains many pulsating stars called Cepheid variables. These stars change their liughtness during a rate matched closely to their unique luminosity, creation them ideal vast lighthouses for measuring accurate distances to comparatively circuitously galaxies.

Astronomers hunt for Cepheid variables in circuitously galaxies that also enclose a Type Ia supernova so they can review a loyal liughtness of both forms of stars. That liughtness information is used to regulate a resplendence of Type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies so that astronomers can calculate a galaxies’ distances from Earth. Once astronomers know accurate distances to galaxies nearby and far, they can establish and labour a enlargement rate of a universe.

This picture was taken in 2015 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, as partial of a plan to urge a pointing of a Hubble consistent — a figure that describes a enlargement rate of a universe.

Source: NASA

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