Stars' Clockwork Motion Captured in Nearby Galaxy
This photo illustration shows Hubble measurements of the rotation of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the nearest visible galaxy to our Milky Way. The LMC appears in the Southern Hemisphere's night sky. In this photo illustration, the image contrast in a ground-based photo was enhanced to highlight the LMC's faint outer regions, which are not visible to the naked eye. To illustrate the LMC's large apparent size on the sky, an image of the full moon is shown at bottom right. A horizon has been added for perspective.
The arrows represent the highest-quality Hubble measurements of the motion of the LMC's stars to show how this galaxy rotates. Each arrow reveals the predicted motion over the next 7 million years. The motion of each star measured by Hubble over a few years' time is a million times smaller than the length of each arrow. The LMC completes a rotation every 250 million years.
Image: NASA, ESA, A. Feild and Z. Levay (STScI), Y. Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory), and R. van der Marel (STScI);
Science: NASA, ESA, R. van der Marel (STScI), and N. Kallivayalil (University of Virginia)