Friday, April 06, 2007


There has been a spectacular Hubble image of a barred spiral galaxy just released. Here is some of what the news report says:

NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends of the galaxy’s strong galactic bar. NGC 1672 is a prototypical barred spiral galaxy and differs from normal spiral galaxies in that the spiral arms do not twist all the way into the centre. Instead, they are attached to the two ends of a straight bar of stars enclosing the nucleus.

Astronomers believe that barred spirals have a unique mechanism that channels gas from the disk inwards towards the nucleus. This allows the bar portion of the galaxy to serve as an area of new star generation. It appears that the bars are short-lived, raising the question: will non-barred galaxies develop a bar in the future, or have they already hosted one that has disappeared?

In the new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, clusters of hot young blue stars form along the spiral arms, and ionize surrounding clouds of hydrogen gas that glow red. Delicate curtains of dust partially obscure and redden the light of the stars behind them. NGC 1672’s symmetric look is emphasised by the four principal arms, edged by eye-catching dust lanes that extend out from the centre.

I wrote about these things years ago. Read my, The Case of the Missing Water on Mars, which I wrote in 2004. I wonder why the scientists can’t see that they are witnessing the miracle of creation. Why can’t they see that the matter is all outbound and not inbound?

The dust? That is matter that has not coalesced into a star yet. Just not dense enough.

It’s all pretty obvious when you can look at it through the eyes of a child, which is my vantage point.



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