Hubble Spots A Cosmic Rebel: Beautiful, Irregularly Shaped Galaxy Has An Ultraluminous X-Ray Source


The world is filled with misfits – from the mildly geeky to the plain oddballs and the misunderstood. Space, too, has its share of cosmic rebels.

In a recently captured image of Hubble space telescope, a beautiful but irregularly shaped galaxy with an ultraluminous X-ray source was captured.

"Most galaxies possess a majestic spiral or elliptical structure," according to the European Space Agency.

However, approximately 25 percent of galaxies do not conform to this common structure and aesthetics style.

Called irregular galaxies, these cosmic materials exhibit a messy presentation, with no particular shape. One example of this is NGC 5408, which has a new photo in the books, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

NGC 5408 is also associated with a cosmic material known as NGC 5408 X-1, which is an ultraluminous light source. Such object radiates tremendous levels of energetic X-rays. NGC 5408 X-1 is said to be among the most well-investigated objects of its class.

Astrophysicists believe that ultraluminous light sources such NGC 5409 X-1 are powerful prospects for black holes of intermediate sizes. Such presumptive black holes have apparently lesser mass than supermassive black holes, which are situated at the center of galaxies and are said to have billions of times larger mass than the sun.

Although lighter than supermassive black holes, the black holes that ultraluminous light sources have exhibit greater mass than those formed when giant stars disintegrate.

John Herschel documented NGC 5408 in June 1834. At first, astronomers thought that it was a planetary nebula, which is a banished cloud of objects from an aging star.

It turns out NGC 5408 is a galaxy with a distance of 16 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy is specifically located in the Centaurus constellation.

Irregular galaxies sure seem like cosmic rebels not only in the face of typical spiral galaxies, but among other irregular galaxies as well.

Another example of an irregular galaxy is a starburst galaxy, which shines so bright it is comparable to the luminosity of newborn stars combined.

Experts say irregular galaxies do not have anything in common most of the time, hence there is no actual common denominator that identifies them.

It is not surprising, though, as irregular galaxies are said to be products of near misses and galaxy collisions. It is understandable that astronomers are still puzzled as to how strange some irregular galaxies look like.

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