The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this beautiful image of the spiral galaxy NGC 1015, also known as LEDA 9988, UGC 2124 and SDSS J023811.55-011907.5.
NGC 1015 resides 117.42 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus.
It was discovered by German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel on December 27, 1875.
NGC 1015 has a bright, fairly large center and smooth, tightly wound spiral arms and a central bar of gas and stars.
This shape leads the object to be classified as a barred spiral galaxy — just like our home, the Milky Way Galaxy.
Bars are found in around two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, and the arms of this galaxy swirl outwards from a pale yellow ring encircling the bar itself.
Astronomers believe that any hungry black holes lurking at the centre of barred spirals funnel gas and energy from the outer arms into the core via these glowing bars, feeding the black hole, fueling star birth at the center and building up the galaxy’s central bulge.
In 2009, a team of astronomers from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search project spotted a Type Ia supernova — dubbed SN 2009ig — in NGC 1015.
Type Ia supernovae are very important — they are all caused by exploding white dwarfs which have companion stars, and always peak at the same brightness — 5 billion times brighter than the Sun.
Knowing the true brightness of these events, and comparing this with their apparent brightness, gives scientists a unique chance to measure distances in the Universe.