Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232
Galaxies [ ] are fascinating not only for what is visible, but for what is invisible. Grand spiral [ ] galaxy NGC 1232 [ ], recently captured [ ] in detail by the new Very Large Telescope [ ], is a good example. The visible is dominated by millions of bright stars [ ] and dark dust [ ], caught up in a gravitational swirl of spiral arms rotating about the center. Open clusters [ ] containing bright blue stars can be seen sprinkled along these spiral arms, while dark lanes [ ] of dense interstellar dust [ ] can be seen sprinkled between them. Less visible, but detectable, are billions of dim normal stars and vast tracts of interstellar gas [ ], together wielding such high mass that they dominate the dynamics of the inner galaxy [ ]. Invisible are even greater amounts of matter in a form we don't yet know - pervasive dark matter [ ] needed to explain the motions [ ] of the visible in the outer galaxy. What's out there? [ ]
Credit and Copyright: 
FORS1 [ ], 8.2-meter VLT [ ], ESO [ ]
dark matter
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
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