The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared an image of a sparkling galaxy that looks like a spiral galaxy NGC 3254 but is actually a seyfret galaxy. The image has been shared by NASA Hubble on its official Instagram page where it has gathered over 80,000 likes and 700 comments.
The caption for the image states, “NGC 3254 looks like a typical spiral galaxy, viewed side-on. However, NGC 3254 has a fascinating secret hiding in plain sight – it’s a Seyfert galaxy. Seyfert galaxies have extraordinarily active cores that release as much energy as the rest of the galaxy put together!”. See for yourself:
According to NASA, this image of NGC 3254 Seyfret galaxy has been observed using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). WFC3 has the capacity to observe ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light. NASA explains that this image is a composite of observations taken in the visible and infrared.
It states that Seyfert galaxies are not rare and about 10% of all galaxies may be Seyfert galaxies. These galaxies belong to a class of “active galaxies” i.e. galaxies that have supermassive black holes at their centres accreting material that release vast amounts of radiation.
The active cores of Seyfert galaxies such as NGC 3254 are brightest when observed in a light outside the visible spectrum. NASA states that at other wavelengths, this image would look very different, with the galaxy’s core shining extremely bright.