Posts Tagged ‘galaxy’

Galactic Zoo

Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Far away in the dark lies this diverse galactic zoo.

Explore this giant cluster of galaxies known as Abell S0740. The massive elliptical galaxy, ESO 325-G004, looms largest at the cluster’s center. This galaxy is heavier than 100 billion of our suns. Try and pick out any one of the thousands of fuzzy specs of light surrounding ESO 325-G004. These are globular clusters made up of hundreds of thousands of stars that are bound together by gravity.

Hundreds of other fuzzy elliptical galaxies dot the image. Some of the ellipticals, such as the one to the left and below ESO 325-G004 and above left, have a disk-like shape that cause them to resemble bow-ties. Other galaxies have broad dust lanes cutting them through the center, resembling the planet Saturn. Many spiral galaxies are seen in the image as well. New, blue stars dominate the spiral galaxy just below the giant elliptical galaxy. Blue-colored stars usually indicate recent star-birth. Older stars tend to be yellow, orange and red. Explore the new star formation among the yellow stars in the spiral arms of the galaxy in the lower right. This galaxy has prominent dust lanes curving gracefully into a tight galactic core.

ESO 325-G004 dominates this cluster of galaxies more than 450 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Centaurus.

All Wound Up

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Arms of dark dust tightly wind around the bright center of NGC 2787 in this image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the concentric rings around this barred lenticular galaxy. Lens-shaped galaxies, such as this one, don’t share the grand spiral arms of galaxies like our Milky Way Galaxy or the Andromeda Galaxy. NGC 2787 does show a faint bar. The bar is not apparent in this image, however. While NGC 2787 isn’t as spectacular as other galaxies, it does help astronomers while they look for clues about the process of galaxy formation and the nature of black holes at the cores of galaxies.

As you zoom into the ring-like dust lanes, you may notice star-like objects around the galaxy. these are actually globular star clusters orbiting NGC 2787. Globular clusters are tightly knit balls of stars. Hundreds of thousands of ancient stars are bound by gravity to form these clusters.

NGC 2787 lies about 24 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Bear. The galaxy itself is fairly small, spanning about 4,400 light-years. By comparison, our Milky Way Galaxy is about 100,000 light years across.


The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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