Older Spiral Galaxy NGC 5010 in Transition Phase

Lenticular galaxy changing into a less defined elliptical galaxy 

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful galaxy that, with its reddish and yellow central area, looks rather like an explosion from a Hollywood movie. The galaxy, called NGC 5010, is in a period of transition. The aging galaxy is moving on from life as a spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way, to an older, less defined type called an elliptical galaxy. In this in-between phase, astronomers refer to NGC 5010 as a lenticular galaxy, which has features of both spirals and ellipticals. NGC 5010 is located around 140 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy is oriented sideways to us, allowing Hubble to peer into it and show the dark, dusty, remnant bands of spiral arms. NGC 5010 has notably started to develop a big bulge in its disc as it takes on a more rounded shape. Most of the stars in NGC 5010 are red and elderly. The galaxy no longer contains all that many of the fast-lived blue stars common in younger galaxies that still actively produce new populations of stars. Much of the dusty and gaseous fuel needed to create fresh stars has already been used up in NGC 5010. Overt time, the galaxy will grow progressively more
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful galaxy that, with its reddish and yellow central area, looks rather like an explosion from a Hollywood movie. The galaxy, called NGC 5010, is in a period of transition. Credits: NASA/Hubble/ESA

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. 

Astronomers have found some galaxies have long tails, read more about this strange phenomena

Read about starburst galaxies, the birthplace of generations of new stars.

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.

Lenticular Galaxy NGC 4111

Lens-shaped galaxies have characteristics astronomers see in elliptical and spiral galaxies

The elegant simplicity of NGC 4111, seen here in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, hides a more violent history than you might think. NGC 4111 is a lenticular, or lens-shaped, galaxy, lying about 50 million light-years from us in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). Lenticular galaxies are an intermediate type of galaxy between an elliptical and a spiral. They host aged stars like ellipticals and have a disk like a spiral. However, that’s where the similarities end: they differ from ellipticals because they have a bulge and a thin disk, but are different from spirals because lenticular discs contain very little gas and dust, and do not feature the many-armed structure that is characteristic of spiral galaxies. In this image we see the disc of NGC 4111 edge-on, so it appears as a thin sliver of light on the sky. At first sight, NGC 4111 looks like a fairly uneventful galaxy, but there are unusual features that suggest it is not such a peaceful place. Running through its centre, at right angles to the thin disc, is a series of filaments, silhouetted against the bright core of the galaxy. These are made of dust, and astronomers think they are associated with a ring of material encircling the galaxy’s core. Since it is not aligned with the galaxy’s main disc, it is possible that this polar ring of gas and dust is actually the remains of a smaller galaxy that was swallowed up by NGC 4111 long ago.
The elegant simplicity of NGC 4111, seen here in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. 

Space news (lenticular galaxies) – 50 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs) –

This Hubble Space Telescope image of lenticular galaxy NGC 4111 shows an island universe with a more chaotic past than first thought. Lenticular or lens-shaped galaxies are labelled S0 on the Hubble Tuning Fork and are classified as a transitional type between spiral and elliptical galaxies.

Lenticular galaxies host older stars as observed in elliptical galaxies and include a disc as seen in spiral galaxies. However, they have a bulge and thin disc, which hasn’t been observed in elliptical galaxies. They also don’t have arms and the gas and dust detected in spiral galaxies.

NGC 4111 appears as a thin sliver of lights in this image because Hubble’s viewing the edge of the galaxy. At first glance, this island universe looks relatively quiet, but there are regions suggesting a more chaotic past. Pillars of dark filaments silhouetted against the bright core of the galaxy and running through the centre at right angles to the thin disc. Dark filaments of dust and gas astronomers associate with a ring of material orbiting its core.

This ring of orbiting material isn’t aligned with the main disc of NGC 4111, which has astrophysicists thinking it could be the remains of a smaller galaxy it collided with long ago. Considering the possible mass and volume of this past meal, indigestion probably isn’t unexpected. 

Learn more about the Hubble Tuning Fork.

Take the space voyage of NASA here.

Discover the Hubble Space Telescope.

Learn what the ESA is planning here.

Read more about lenticular galaxies.

Read about the stellar object called the Red Rectangle, star system HD 44179.

Learn more about TESS, the next generation planet hunter.

Read about astronomers observing the merging of two galaxies into galaxy NGC 6052.

An Infinite Number of Galaxies?

Are there really an infinite number of galaxies in the universe
Just how many galaxies is an infinite number, anyway?

Just what do we humans mean by infinite galaxies?

So many planets, so much diversity! Can life really be limited to Earth?

Lots and lots of galaxies

Astronomy News – The galaxies you’ll view during your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” are like grains of sand on the beach, or snowflakes, with no two galaxies looking exactly the same to viewers. Astronomers have also viewed a number of different types of galaxies and they have given each a specific name, usually based on the overall shape of the galaxy. Composed of millions or even billions of individual stars, each particular type of galaxy viewed, so far, has also been given a designation, or name, by which we all can tell the difference between the individual galaxies in the infinity of galaxies we view in the night sky above us. It was Edwin Hubble who first did the work with photographic plates taken during the early part of the twentieth century that allowed him to determine the nebulous objects astronomers had been viewing for years were actually vast islands of stars we call galaxies. Edwin Hubble also cataloged the galaxies he viewed into three major classes, or types, according to their physical shape.

Within the pinwheels of this spiral galaxy new planets and possibly new life could be born

A percentage of the galaxies will resemble huge pinwheels and have been given the name spiral galaxies by astronomers viewing these objects. Spiral galaxies are generally composed of a bright central nucleus with older stars, with two sweeping arms of younger stars, open clusters, and diffuse nebulae unfolding in space and time. The Milky Way in which we reside is one such spiral galaxy among the multitudes of such galaxies in the universe and Sol is located about two-thirds of the way from the center of the galaxy.

Astronomers have broken down spiral galaxies into five subclasses of spiral galaxies, according to how tightly the arms of a galaxy are wrapped around the nucleus of the spiral galaxy in question. Spiral galaxies with the tightest arms are Sa spiral galaxies, Sb spiral galaxies are next in order, with more loosely armed Sc, comparatively rare Sd, and S0 spiral galaxies almost appearing to be a transitional form between spiral galaxies and another type of galaxy.

NGC 1365 is a barred galaxy astronomers have been studying

Barred galaxies exhibit an odd, bar-like feature passing through the nucleus of the galaxy, and the spiral arms of barred galaxies start to unwind from the ends of the central bar, rather than from the nucleus of the galaxy. Barred galaxies are also classified according to the tightness of the spiral arms and have designations SBa, SBb, and SBc.

Centaurus is an elliptical galaxy with an easily seen barlike feature

Elliptical galaxies are the most plentiful type of galaxy we have viewed during the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time.” Elliptical galaxies actually have no hint of spiral arms and appear as huge, oval spheres with no discernible internal structure of any kind. Elliptical galaxies are classified according to how round they appear, with E0 elliptical galaxies appearing almost perfectly spherical, E4 elliptical galaxies looking like an oddly shaped football, and E7 elliptical galaxies looking flat as compared to the other classifications. Elliptical galaxies appear to be composed mostly of older stars and you’ll notice they lack luminosity as you view them.

Barnard is an irregular galaxy with no distinct shape

Infinite is a human term

Galaxies that appear to have no distinctive shape are referred to as irregular galaxies and irregular galaxies have been viewed a lot less in the night sky than the other types. This doesn’t necessarily mean irregular galaxies appear in fewer numbers in the universe, but it does mean that the percentage of the universe we have viewed from Earth appears to contain fewer irregular galaxies than the other types.

Warren Wong.

Editor and Chief

The Human Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time.

Check out my newest astronomy site at http://astronomytonight.yolasite.com/.

Learn how NASA astronomers are planning on detecting extraterrestrial moons orbiting distant suns https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/searching-for-extraterrestrial-moons/.

Read about the latest news on life beyond Earth https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/the-search-for-life-beyond-earth-takes-a-turn-at-jupiter/.

Take a look at the latest natural color images taken by the Cassini spacecraft https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/cassini-spacecraft-show-views-of-the-solar-system-in-natural-color/.