Published on June 10th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Hubble Telescope Captures “Bright Spark” In Messier 99
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a photo of a “bright spark” that details the view of a star located on one side of the galaxy Messier 99. The “grand design spiral” is the nickname of Messier 99 because of its long, large and clearly defined spiral arms.
Located nearly 50 million light-years way Messier 99 is one of thousands of galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster, the closest galaxy cluster to our own Milky Way. In fact the cluster is close enough that it was one of the first to be discovered by Charles Messier in the 18th century.
Astronomers have been studying strange phenomena in Messier 99 for years, including the brighter star that was made available in this newest image. The star is cataloged at PTF 10fqs and is a yellow-orange star (pictured in the top-left corner of the above image).
The star was spotted by the Palomar Transient Facility which specifically looked for sudden changes in a stars brightness.
Scientists in the meantime have been unable to classify PTF 10fqs because it is brighter than a nova but fainter than a supernova, leaving it in a type of scientific classification limbo. Some scientists believe LTF 10fqs may be the result of a giant parent planet crashing into its star.
This most recent image was actual take in June 1010 and was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition by contestant Matej Novak. That competition asks astronomy enthusiasts to look through Hubble’s archive for images that have been previously missed.