beautiful NGC 5548
is more that 50,000 light-years across
and lies 72 million light-years away toward the constellation
The winding spiral arms of this gorgeous
island universe are loaded with
luminous young star clusters and dark dust lanes.
Still, for earthbound astronomers NGC 5548 is not just
another pretty face-on spiral galaxy.
Home to some
Cepheid variable stars and a recent
supernova explosion, key objects for
astronomical distance determinations,
NGC 5548 is one of 8 galaxies used in a new study that includes
additional Hubble Space Telescope observations
to improve the measurement of
Hubble's Constant -
the expansion rate of the Universe.
of the study lend weight to the theory that
dark energy really is responsible
for accelerating the expansion of the Universe,
restricting models that try to explain the observed acceleration without
the mysterious dark energy.
In this sharp Hubble image
of NGC 5548, many of the small reddish smudges
are distant background galaxies.
(Texas A & M Univ.)