Lenticular galaxy changing into a less defined elliptical galaxy
Space news (The evolution of galaxies: transition periods; lenticular galaxies) – 140 million light-years away toward the constellation Virgo –
The Hubble Space Telescope image of lenticular galaxy NGC 5010 seen here shows an older spiral galaxy in transition to an elliptical type. Lenticular type galaxies are considered a transition phase between spiral and elliptical galaxies. Presently, it has characteristics astronomers find in both spiral and elliptical galaxies, but will eventually evolve into a less defined elliptical galaxy.
All of the blue, fast-living stars that existed in spiral galaxy NGC 5010 have aged into older red stars as it transitioned into a lenticular galaxy. The vast majority of stars seen in this image are red and elderly, with only a few younger, blue stars sprinkled like fairy dust across dark, dusty, remnants of spiral arms. It has also started to develop a bigger bulge in its disk as it starts to take on a more rounded shape characteristic of lenticular and sometimes elliptical galaxies.
The orientation of the galaxy’s sideways to the telescope in this image. View elliptical galaxy NGC 5010 far in the future from the same reference point and older, red stars will exist within it. It could have a circular, long, narrow or even cigar shape since all are characteristic of elliptical galaxies. No matter its shape, this elliptical galaxy will contain even less gas and dust than it did when it was younger and brighter.
Learn about giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.
Learn more about lenticular galaxies.
Take the space journey of the Hubble Space Telescope here.
Learn more about galaxy NGC 5010.
Discover more about spiral galaxies here.
Learn more about elliptical galaxies.
Read and learn about NASA’s journey to the stars.