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Bars and Baby Stars
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Name: NGC 7541
Description: Spiral Galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 23h 14m 43.70s Dec +04° 31' 58.45"
Constellation: Pisces
Distance: 110 million light years
Visual magnitude: 12
Angular size: 2.3 x 0.79 arcmin
Field of view: 2.65 x 1.94 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 25.9 right of vertical
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.
Release date: January 27, 2020
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

The galaxy depicted in this Picture of the Week is a barred spiral known as NGC 7541, seen here as viewed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, in the constellation of Pisces (The Fishes). NGC 7541 was discovered by William Herschel on August 30, 1785.

A barred spiral is a galaxy with whirling, pinwheeling, spiral arms, and a bright center that is intersected by a bar of gas and stars. This bar cuts directly through the galaxy's central region, and is thought to invigorate the region somewhat, sparking activity and fuelling myriad processes that may otherwise have never occurred or have previously ground to a halt (star formation and active galactic nuclei being key examples). We think bars exist in up to two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, including our own home, the Milky Way.

NGC 7541 is actually observed to have a higher-than-usual star formation rate, adding weight to the theory that spiral bars act as stellar nurseries, corralling and funneling inwards the material and fuel needed to create and nurture new baby stars. Along with its nearby companion NGC 7537, the galaxy makes up a pair of galaxies located about 110 million light-years away from us.