NGC 1015 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Cetus, approximately 118 million light-years away from Earth. This image captured by Hubble shows NGC 1015 face-on, revealing its symmetrical swirling arms and bright central bulge. The galaxy is classified as a barred spiral galaxy, similar to our Milky Way, with a central bar of gas and stars and tightly wound spiral arms that swirl outwards from a pale yellow ring encircling the bar itself.
Scientists believe that barred spiral galaxies have black holes lurking at their centers, which funnel gas and energy from the outer arms into the core via these glowing bars, fueling star birth at the center and building up the galaxy's central bulge.
In 2009, a Type Ia supernova named SN 2009ig was discovered in NGC 1015. These types of supernovae are important as they are all caused by exploding white dwarfs with companion stars and always peak at the same brightness, allowing astronomers to measure distances in the Universe by comparing their true brightness with their apparent brightness.
The Hubble image of NGC 1015 provides valuable insights into the structure, composition, and star formation history of the galaxy. It also highlights the beauty and complexity of the universe, showcasing the intricate spiral arms and bright central bulge of this majestic galaxy.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScl/JHU)