About the Object

Name: NGC 1559
Distance: 35 million light years
Constellation: Reticulum
Category: Galaxies
Picture of the Month


Position (RA):4 17 35.78
Position (Dec):-62° 47' 5.43"
Field of view:2.22 x 2.25 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 74.7° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Infrared 1.5 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
1.87 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 3.0 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
3.35 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
7.7 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 21 μmJames Webb Space Telescope

A galactic treasury

This image features the barred spiral galaxy galaxy NGC 1559 as seen by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. The galaxy hosts a visible central region with a distinct open pattern in the loosely-wound spiral arms. NGC 1559 resides approximately 35 million light-years away in the little-observed southern constellation Reticulum (The Reticule).

The data featured in this portrait make use of two of Webb’s instruments: the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) and Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam). Here MIRI captures the glow of interstellar dust grains, which trace out the interstellar medium, the fuel for future star formation. NIRCam shows the light from stars, even young stars hidden behind prodigious amounts of dust. NIRCam also captures emission from ionised nebulae around young stars.

The data were collected by the PHANGS team as part of an observing programme in which Webb will observe 55 galaxies that have also been mapped by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and more. By combining Webb’s unprecedented view of the dust and stars with data from these other facilities, the team aims to obtain a new, highly detailed view of how stars are born, live, and die in galaxies across the Universe. This is also a Treasury programme, which means that the data will have no exclusive access period and so the scientific community (and others, including the general public) can access the data immediately. This has the advantage that more research can be done with the data more quickly.

NGC 1559 has massive spiral arms that abound with star formation, and it is receding from us at a speed of about 1300 kilometres per second. Although NGC 1559 appears to sit near one of our nearest neighbours in the sky — the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, NGC 1559 is physically nowhere near the LMC in space; in fact it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster.

NGC 1559 may be alone in space, but with Webb we are admiring from far away.

[Image Description: A barred spiral galaxy on a dark, nearly empty background. The whole galaxy glows with a pale light, particularly along the galaxy’s bar which runs from top to bottom through the galactic core. It’s speckled with tiny stars. The centre is surrounded by rich clouds of hot gas and dust along the arms. The arms are loosely wound and a bit ragged, and contain a few star-forming regions that shine brightly.]



ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, A. Leroy, J. Lee and the PHANGS Team

About the Image

Id: potm2402a
Type: Observation
Release date: 27 February 2024, 10:00
Size: 4334 x 4377 px

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