Are galaxies ‘see through’?

Galaxy pair AM500-620

Galaxy pair AM500-620 comprises two dusty spiral galaxies, one in front of the other.

THIS HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE image shows a galaxy pair known only by its catalogue number, AM0500-620. It comprises consists of a highly symmetrical spiral galaxy seen nearly face-on, partially backlit by a background galaxy.

The Hubble image shows the foreground spiral galaxy to have a number of ‘dust lanes’ between its spiral arms.

The background galaxy had originally been classified as an elliptical galaxy, but Hubble’s observations revealed it to be a dusty spiral arms and bright knots of stars.

The image was taken in order to work out how much dust is held within galaxies, and whether this dust reduces the amount of light we see from the stars within those galaxies.

By finding foreground-background galaxy pairs, astronomers were able to refine their estimates of dust in the foreground galaxies through the backlighting effect of the background galaxies.

AM0500-620 is 350 million light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Dorado, the Swordfish.

Download a 1280 x 1280-pixel wallpaper image of AM0500-620.

Adapted from information issued by NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and W. Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa) / UA News Bureau.

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