The spiral galaxy NGC 3509 is featured in this image taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. NGC 3509 is a fascinating galaxy located 350 million light-years away, with a sweeping tidal tail (not seen in this view) that hints at its evolution.
NGC 3509 features a single, relatively undamaged core surrounded by a whirl of dust lanes, according to Hubble, who discovered it as part of a study looking at the physical circumstances in strongly interacting and merging galaxy nuclei.
This indicates that there hasn’t been a massive disk-to-disk merger in the galaxy. Instead, NGC 3509 could have collided with a smaller galaxy or be interacting with a small companion whose gravity is causing the tidal tail.
NGC 3509, like most spiral galaxies, is continually forming new stars. The colour red in this image depicts near-infrared light wavelengths and highlights star-forming regions along the spiral arms of the galaxy.