ESA Picture of the Week

The European Space Agency chose one of our Hubble images for the “Picture of the Week” last month on spacetelescope.org. The image shows the central region of the nearby galaxy IC 342. This comes from Dan Carson’s Ph.D. thesis work on nuclear star clusters in spiral galaxies. The bright white spot in the center of the image is the nuclear star cluster, and IC 342’s cluster is one of the brightest and densest nuclear star clusters known. The radius of the central star cluster is about 4.6 light-years, as measured from the Hubble data, and it’s surrounded by many other smaller star clusters and young massive stars, as well as dark dust lanes containing dense gas. The galaxy is about 11 million light-years away, and is located in the constellation of Camelopardis.

(Trivia question: “Camelopardis!” was the catchphrase of what character on a 1970s sci-fi TV show?)