Hubble Captures Clear Image of Faint Spiral Galaxy UGC 11105

NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of the dim, yet distinct, spiral galaxy UGC 11105, situated approximately 110 million light years from our planet, in the Hercules constellation. The galaxy was observed in both visible and ultraviolet wavelengths of light, beyond the spectrum our eyes can naturally perceive.

This image showcases a concept known as apparent magnitude, a method astronomers utilize to gauge the brightness of celestial objects as observed from Earth. It is crucial to note that apparent magnitude is not synonymous with an object’s intrinsic brightness, as it is heavily influenced by the object’s distance from our planet.

A simple analogy to understand the concept of apparent magnitude is to consider the brightness of street lamps. While each lamp emits the same amount of light, those closer appear brighter to the observer than those further away. Similarly, UGC 11105, despite being an entire galaxy, appears to have an apparent magnitude or brightness of about 13.6 in the light visible to our eyes. This makes the sun, due to its proximity to Earth, appear approximately 14 thousand trillion times brighter than UGC 11105.

Hubble’s unique location above Earth’s atmosphere, which can distort light, coupled with its sensitivity enables it to detect extraordinarily dim objects in visible light, ultraviolet light, and a small portion of infrared light. This capacity to perceive a broader spectrum of light allows astronomers to gain more comprehensive insights into distant celestial bodies like UGC 11105.

This image of UGC 11105, therefore, not only provides a glimpse into a distant galaxy but also exemplifies the role of distance and perspective in our perception of celestial brightness.

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