Hubble Captures a Bright Spiral in the Queen’s Hair – NASA Science

NGC 4689 holds an interesting — albeit less royal — place in modern astronomy. The universe is so incredibly vast that at a distance of 54 million light-years NGC 4689 is relatively nearby for a galaxy. This image includes data from two sets of observations, one made in 2019, the other in 2024 , and both are part of programs that observed multiple ‘nearby’ galaxies. The 2024 observing program is an interesting example of how Hubble — an extraordinarily productive telescope for more than three decades — and the James Webb Space Telescope complement each other. Observations collected by Webb stand to transform our understanding of how galaxies change and evolve over time, by providing infrared data at an unprecedented level of detail and clarity. However, ultraviolet and visible light observations from Hubble — such as those used to create this image — complement Webb’s observations. In this case, the Hubble data offer a more accurate assessment of the stellar populations of nearby galaxies, which is crucial to understanding their evolution. Hubble and Webb observations play an important role in developing our understanding of how galaxies form and evolve, and observations of NGC 4689 are a valuable part of that quest for knowledge. In fact, Hubble featured an image of the galaxy before, in 2020.

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