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Hubble Space Telescope Spies a Serpentine Spiral Galaxy

Hubble Space Telescope Spies a Serpentine Spiral Galaxy

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The lazily winding spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 5921 snake across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

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This galaxy lies approximately 80 million light-years from Earth, and much like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a prominent bar.

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Roughly half of all spiral galaxies are thought to contain bars, and these bars affect their parent galaxies by fueling star formation and affecting the motion of stars and interstellar gas. 

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Appropriately, given NGC 5921’s serpentine spiral arms, this galaxy resides in the constellation Serpens in the northern celestial hemisphere.

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Serpens is the only one of the 88 modern constellations to consist of two unconnected regions — Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda.

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These two regions — whose names mean the Serpent’s Head and the Serpent’s Tail, respectively — are separated by Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. 

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