NGC 1672

Distance: 60 million Light Years

Constellation: Dorado

Extending outward from its bright central bar, the four principle arcing spiral arms of the nearly face-on spiral NGC 1672 are heavily populated with scores of young stars and their ionized nebulae. The immense central bar extends some 20kpc end to end. At its center is a powerful cosmic furnace known as an "active nucleus". "Active" galaxies are luminous galaxies known to release copious amounts of energy from their nucleus which cannot be solely accounted for by stellar processes. NGC 1672 belongs to the subtype known as Seyfert galaxies (named after Carl Keenan Seyfert who studied them in the 1940s) and have an extremely bright starlike nucleus which can at times outshine the entire parent galaxy. The light emitting region is often compact, spanning less than 1 light year in diameter. The enormous energy output is likely powered by the accretion of matter into a massive "Black Hole". The Seyfert nucleus of NGC 1672 is surrounded by a brilliant nuclear starburst ring. Central bars are thought to contribute to local star formation by funneling gas centrally into the nucleus. Scattered around the image are dozens of faint distant galaxies, their light attenuated and reddened by distance and dust. Amazingly a few appear to shine brightly through the disk itself.