lunes, 19 de marzo de 2018


Messier 99 | NASA

collage of Hubble Messier object images and portrait of Messier

Messier 99

Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Matej Novak
M99 with arrow pointing to mysterious star PTF 10fqs
The mysterious star PTF 10fqs appears at the tip of the arrow in this Hubble image of M99.
Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Matej Novak
This Hubble image, combining visible, infrared and ultraviolet observations, shows a detailed view of the spiral arms on one side of the galaxy M99. This galaxy is called a grand-design spiral, with long, large and clearly defined spiral arms — giving it a structure somewhat similar to our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
M99 was discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781. The galaxy is located 55 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices and has an apparent magnitude of 10.4. It can be seen using a moderately sized telescope most easily in May.
A number of unexplained phenomena in M99 have been studied by astronomers. Among these is the nature of PTF 10fqs — one of the brighter stars in this image and visible as a yellow-orange star in the top-left corner. What is unusual about PTF 10fqs is that it has so far defied classification. When it was discovered in April 2010, it appeared brighter than a nova (caused by an eruption on a star’s surface) but fainter than a supernova (the explosion that marks the end of life for a large star). Scientists have offered a number of possible explanations, including the intriguing suggestion that the star’s increased brightness could have been caused by a giant planet plunging into its parent star.
This Hubble image was made in June 2010, during the period when the outburst from PTF 10fqs was fading, so the star’s location could be pinpointed with great precision. These measurements will allow other telescopes to home in on the star in future, even when the afterglow of the outburst has faded away completely.
For more information about Hubble’s observations of M99, see:
locator star chart for M99
This star chart for M99 represents the view from mid-northern latitudes for the given month and time.
Credits: Image courtesy of Stellarium
Last Updated: March 16, 2018
Editor: Rob Garner

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