House picture of the week: A cosmic ‘ghost’ friends by the universe’s previous

This picture from the Hubble House Telescope reveals a distant galaxy that appears very totally different from our personal Milky Means. Finest seen from the Southern Hemisphere, NGC 6684 is a whopping 44 million light-years away and was noticed coincidentally throughout Hubble’s census of galaxies inside 32.6 million light-years that it is but to picture. It is now about three-quarters of its manner by this mammoth process.

Astronomers categorize galaxies based mostly on their obvious shapes and bodily options. NGC 6684’s hazy, ghostly form is an instance of a selected sort of galaxy referred to as a lenticular galaxy — that means that when seen side-on, it appears like a lens, in response to NASA.

It differs from the Milky Means in how its stars are organized. The Milky Means is a basic spiral galaxy — a rotating disk of spiral arms stuffed with stars, with darkish lanes of mud and empty area between them that orbit round a central bulge of stars. Lenticular galaxies like NGC 6684 nonetheless have a bulge of stars at their core however no spiral arms. As an alternative, there is a disk of stars.

Lenticular galaxies include older stars than spiral galaxies do, and astronomers suppose these galaxies could possibly be ageing spiral galaxies whose arms have light, or spiral galaxies which have merged, in response to NASA. Certainly, current proof means that the Milky Means might have been a lenticular galaxy billions of years in the past, earlier than a collection of galactic collisions formed its signature spiral arms. Different lenticular galaxies imaged by Hubble not too long ago embrace NGC 1023, NGC 5283 and NGC 3489.

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