Galaxies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and as NASA’s Hubble recently discovered, that also includes snake-like galaxies. The vastness and limitlessness of the universe mean scientists are always finding new things to uncover. From bizarre exoplanets, powerful stars, and faraway galaxies beyond the Milky Way, the possibilities are (quite literally) endless.
Out of all of the telescopes and observatories humans have for studying these things, Hubble is still one of the best. A little over a week ago, NASA confirmed that Hubble had just discovered the furthest star ever recorded from Earth. Hubble also regularly shares stunning photos of distant galaxies. Over the last month, NASA has shared Hubble photos of a massive spiral galaxy, one with a powerful eye, and another galaxy with a supermassive black hole hiding inside of it.
Related: Hubble Just Found The Furthest Star Ever In Record-Breaking Discovery
If all of those pictures weren’t enough, NASA’s returned with another Hubble observation that’s just as impressive as the other ones. This latest photo shows a long, spiral galaxy amidst a sea of stars and space dust. The linear band of stars around the galaxy isn’t unlike the Milky Way, but this one has an especially unique property. The long, swirling arms almost look like massive snakes slithering through the universe.
Taking A Closer Look At This ‘Snake’ Galaxy
The snake-like galaxy is officially known by NASA as NGC 5921. It’s found 80 million light-years from Earth and — very fitting to its snake-shaped body — lives in the Serpens constellation. The Serpens constellation is among the 88 modern constellations and the only one with two separate sections. Consisting of the Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda (a serpent’s head and tail, respectively), it’s only fitting that a snake-shaped constellation is home to a snake-shaped galaxy.
Like so many of these Hubble photos, NASA captured NGC 5921 as part of a team effort. In addition to Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, NASA also used the Gemini Observatory on Earth. Working together, Hubble and Gemini, “helped astronomers better understand the relationship between galaxies like NGC 5921 and the supermassive black holes they contain.”