Photo credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured a breathtaking image of NGC 1385, a spiral galaxy that is located 68 million light-years from Earth, nestled in the constellation Fornax. This image was photographed with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, which is also known as the telescope’s workhorse camera due to its reliability and versatility. Despite being installed back in 2009 when astronauts last visited Hubble, it’s still running strong 12-years later. Read more for a video on spiral galaxies and a bonus.
NGC 1385’s location in the Fornax constellation was not named after an animal or an ancient god, like many other constellations. Fornax is essentially the Latin word for a furnace, named by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, a French astronomer born in 1713. In addition to constructing astronomical ephemerides (positions of celestial objects) and mathematical tables, he also calculated a table of eclipses for 1800 years.
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Lacaille named 14 of the 88 constellations we still recognize today. He seems to have had a penchant for naming constellations after scientific instruments, including Atlia (the air pump), Norma (the ruler, or set square), and Telescopium (the telescope),” said NASA.