First look at Hubble's first look at the first Voorwerpje

The bits are still warm, having just been downlinked from Hubble overnight. There is still a good bit of processing to be done, cleaning up cosmic rays and so forth. But that said, here is our first look at SDSS 2201+11, first of the Galaxy Zoo AGN cloud galaxies (AKA voorwerpjes) to come up on the telescope’s schedule. As a reminder, as waveney just posted in yesterday’s Object of the Day, here it is in the SDSS images:

And now what we’ve all been waiting for! First up, the galaxy in a narrow filter that includes the strong [O III] emission from the clouds at this redshift:
emission”]Hubble image of SDSS 2201+11 with [O III] emission

And one in a filter including H-alpha emission, which is several times fainter in such highly ionized gas:

SDSS 2201+11 HST image with H-alpha

SDSS 2201+11 HST image with H-alpha

And finally, in the tradition of vacation photographs everywhere, a shot of just the galaxy (in this case a medium-width filter near the standard i band to show the stars and dust but not the gas):

SDSS 2201+11 Hubble i image

SDSS 2201+11 Hubble i image

First inspection shows that the galaxy has been disturbed – the dust lanes twist. One of them trails right off into one of the gas clouds, adding to our evidence that ionized tidal debris often shows up in this way. That also suggests which cloud is on the near side, so we have a clue about the time delays experienced by the radiation we see from each one as it has been affected by possible changes in the nucleus. There are interesting holes and curlicues in the gas, as well.

Further processing will show us more. And there are six galaxies to go! (These should dribble in throughout 2012 – we just got an appetizer).

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23 responses to “First look at Hubble's first look at the first Voorwerpje”

  1. Waveney says :


  2. elizabeth says :


  3. echo-lily-mai says :

    Wow! What fantastic images!

  4. Bruno says :


  5. Blackprojects says :

    Superb Images

  6. Kiske says :

    We do have white smoke!

  7. Aida Berges says :

    WOW! Looks so different on Hubble, congratulations Bill and everyone involved!
    Such cool pictures.

  8. Tsering Lhatso says :

    These are wonderful! Thanks for putting them up so quickly :-))

  9. Alice says :

    But but but but but I thought it took months and months for a Hubble image to turn into a Hubble image we can see!!!! OMG this is glorious! YAY! 🙂

  10. jules says :


  11. Graham Dungworth says :

    Extremely fascinating. Note there appear to be two nucleii.

  12. Alison Campbell says :

    Fascinating image. The ‘jets’ (if such they are) appear to emerge not at right angles to the ‘disk’ but at some random angle.

    Halpha looks to be a lot brighter than [OIII] (though these images may be uncalibrated as yet).

    Do we get spectra & redshift + distance, or is this galaxy too faint?

  13. morganism says :

    So that’s what a hypervelocity attack looks like.

    Guess that’s the end of their SETI program…..

  14. BillKeel says :

    We do have a good redshift, not only from SDSS but from Kitt Peak and Lick followup: z=0.0296 for a distance around 121 Megaparsecs. And it is interesting that the illuminated regions are only 20 degrees or so from the galaxy plane. It’s been known that the axes of AGN don’t necessarily correlate with the surrounding galaxy, but this is a very flagrant mismatch. And indeed the H-alpha and [O III] filters have different widths, so before further processing the intensities can match either for stars or gas (we have independent measures from spectra to be sure that comes out right).

  15. Alison Campbell says :

    Thanks, Bill. It’s much closer than I thought it might be, given that (I believe) this is one of the Zoologists’ discoveries.

  16. John says :

    There is a God after all! This is just awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Censo says :

    Looks like a poached egg!

  18. Keith says :

    Stunning.It looks so delicate and yet so powerful.

  19. Jim says :

    Fascinating, its interesting how the information from Hubble is actually received and put together.

    Being curious, is it possible to estimate the quantity of OIII gas from the information received. Understand that the picture is two dimmensional and the answer could be very approximate but it would be interesting to know if its in the thousands or millions of kg of gas.

  20. joan engel says :

    The future is now, as well as the present and past and all caught on camera! WOW! Fantastic job!

  21. Tony Jury says :

    I an a former galaxy spotter from your earlier excercises.
    Just love the ‘new’ hubble data. Can you give me a ‘position’ in the uk sky, any contellation will do. so I can relate this data to the december sky.
    somehere! anywhere!

  22. Shoman says :

    When I see these kind of pictures make me sort of feel good in my belly, I really have the feeling that I belong out there.
    Nice work guys and glad to know that with our small part in your project something good has come out.

  23. BillKeel says :

    The newly observed galaxy is located at coordinates (epoch 2000) 22h 01m 41.6s +11deg 51′ 24″, which is in Pegasus just a few degrees east-northeast of the star Enif (epsilon Pegasi).

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