Astronomers suspect that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their core. Our Milky Way galaxy surely has one, for instance, and it’s not being there only for destructive purposes.
Indeed everybody is tempted to associate black holes with evil purposes like destroying entire galaxies or even the whole Universe. They’re not far from the truth, however, only that black holes don’t just have a dark side. Supermassive black holes can help a galaxy gather its shape, as the stars located in the core revolve around the dark monster itself.
Thumbs up for NGC 1566!
NGC 1566 is the name of a galaxy that amazes astronomers even from 70 million light-years away from the constellation known as Dorado. You’ll shortly understand why. If the name is too complicated for you to remember, you can just call it The Spanish Dancer.
Astronomers spotted an unforgettable photo of the NGC 1566 galaxy by using the Dark Energy Camera that’s mounted on the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile:
#Astronomers have captured NGC 1566 using the @ENERGY-fabricated Dark Energy Camera at @cerrotololo, a Program of @NSF’s #NOIRLab. Colloquially nicknamed the Spanish Dancer, it appears to twirl and fling its arms through the vastness of #space. More: https://t.co/dckLSJmGqi
— NOIRLab (@NOIRLabAstro) February 22, 2022
Space.com explains better what’s in the photo. The bright blue layer of the arm reveals young and bright stars that are separated by dark lanes made of dust. Older stars are predominant in redder areas that are closer to the galaxy’s core.
As expected, the supermassive black hole from the galaxy’s core is invisible. However, the variable amounts of light that the black hole shoots into space confuses astronomers, as they still try to find out what’s going on there.
Luckily enough, there are countless other galaxies out there in the observable Universe, which means that scientists always have where to look for comparisons. Scientists even estimate a staggering number of about 3 trillion galaxies existing in the observable Universe. Not to mention that astrophysicists are almost sure that other universes exist as well! This could practically mean an infinite number of galaxies!