Astrophoto Lab
--- your online source for astronomical & satellite images ---

Spirals and Supernovae
General Information
Special Galleries
Deep Space
Stars, Supernovae
Solar System
Earth from Space
NASA Space Programs
Other Astro Images
Space Image Gallery
Useful Links
Credits & Useage
Name: NGC 1015
Description: Barred spiral galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 02h 38m 11.565s Dec -01° 19' 07.02"
Constellation: Cetus
Distance: 120 million light years
Visual magnitude: 12.8
Apparent size: 3.2 by 3.1 arcmin (includes the faint outer ring).
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess (STScl/JHU)
Release date: March 12, 2018
Click the image to buy a print


This stunning image from Hubble shows the majestic galaxy NGC 1015, found nestled within the constellation of Cetus (The Whale) 118 million light-years from Earth. In this image, we see NGC 1015 face-on, with its beautifully symmetrical swirling arms and bright central bulge creating a scene akin to a sparkling Catherine wheel firework.

NGC 1015 has a bright, fairly large center and smooth, tightly wound spiral arms and a central “bar” of gas and stars. This shape leads NGC 1015 to be classified as a barred spiral galaxy — just like our home, the Milky Way. Bars are found in around two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, and the arms of this galaxy swirl outwards from a pale yellow ring encircling the bar itself. Scientists believe that any hungry black holes lurking at the center of barred spirals funnel gas and energy from the outer arms into the core via these glowing bars, feeding the black hole, fueling star birth at the center and building up the galaxy’s central bulge.

In 2009, a Type Ia supernova named SN 2009ig was spotted in NGC 1015 — one of the bright dots to the upper right of the galaxy’s center. These types of supernovae are extremely important: they are all caused by exploding white dwarfs which have companion stars, and always peak at the same brightness — 5 billion times brighter than the Sun. Knowing the true brightness of these events, and comparing this with their apparent brightness, gives astronomers a unique chance to measure distances in the Universe.

NGC 1015 was discovered by German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel on December 27, 1875