Stunning ALMA image shows a snake-like galaxy 80 million light-years away

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have imaged a snake-like galaxy.

Scientists named the galaxy NGC 1087, and it is swirling through space almost 80,000 light-years from our planet.

An image of galaxy NGC 1087 captured by the ALMA observatory in Chile

ALMA's high altitude of 16,500 feet (5,000 meters) and extremely dry climate in Chile's Atacama Desert provide an excellent vantage point for the observatory's 66 radio telescopes to penetrate the heavens.

While the snake-like galaxy is intriguing, it’s just one of millions of galaxies out there. And, while its shape is unique, it ultimately falls under one of the most common categories of galaxies: spiral.

This particular part of the sky is home to several other water-themed constellations, too, such as Pisces and Aquarius.

They created the main image by combining multiple images from ALMA and the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer on the ESO’s VLT.

Scientists captured the shots as part of a conjunctive project called the Physics at High Angular Resolutions in Nearby Galaxies Survey, or PHANGS.


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