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Spiral galaxy NGC 4414


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Spiral galaxy NGC 4414. This galaxy was imaged in 1995 during the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. The galaxy was observed on 13 different occasions over the course of two months, using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) with three different colour filters. Based on brightness measurements of variable stars discovered in NGC 4414, a very accurate determination of the distance to the galaxy was obtained. It was found to be some 60 million light years (19.1 megaparsecs) from Earth. In 1999, the Hubble Heritage Team revisited NGC 4414 and completed its portrait by observing the other half of the galaxy with the same filters as were used in 1995. This image is the result. As with other spiral galaxies, the central region contains older, yellower stars, while the arms are considerably bluer due to ongoing formation of young, blue stars. The arms are also rich in clouds of interstellar dust, seen as dark patches and streaks silhouetted against the starlight. NGC 4414 lies in the constellation Coma Berenices.

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