Galactic Silhouettes, 2000.
3 7 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 29cm

Galactic Silhouettes, 2000.

© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society


This new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) shows the unique galaxy pair called NGC 3314. Through an extraordinary chance alignment, a face-on spiral galaxy lies precisely in front of another larger spiral. This line-up provides us with the rare chance to visualize dark material within the front galaxy, seen only because it is silhouetted against the object behind it. Dust lying in the spiral arms of the foreground galaxy stands out where it absorbs light from the more distant galaxy. This silhouetting shows us where the interstellar dust clouds are located, and how much light they absorb.

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