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.

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Searching the Night Sky for a Supernova

Astronomers are looking at NGC 3982 and other galaxies for a supernova to study

NASA and amateur astronomers around the world search for a new supernova to name
(NASA images) If you see a supernova, it could be your big moment in life?

Put your name in the history books

Astronomy News – The Milky Way use to be thought of as a spiral galaxy, but recently collected data seems to suggest to astronomers that the Milky Way could, in fact, be a barred galaxy. Either way, the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” has revealed to astronomers a seeming infinity of galaxies beyond the celestial horizon we view from Earth. Spiral galaxies abound in amazing numbers in the universe, elliptical and barred galaxies have been viewed in endless numbers beyond the celestial horizon, and none of these galaxies look exactly the same. Beyond the horizon we view from Earth, the universe astronomers view goes on and on, without an end in sight, but everything we humans have experienced has an ending and beginning. Can the universe truly go on forever, or is it conceivable that somewhere beyond the celestial horizon there exists boundaries beyond which the known universe ends and another reality exists?

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope recently journeyed to spiral galaxy NGC 3982 to look for clues to these questions and others that have fascinated humans since the time of the first-star gazers. A face-on spiral galaxy first discovered by William Herschel on April 14, 1789, NGC 3982’s spiraling arms are lined with pink star-forming regions of space and time glowing with hydrogen, newborn blue star clusters, and star dust capable of providing the raw material for future generations of stars. Astronomers believe hidden in the nucleus of NGC 3982 is a generation of older stars, which become more densely packed as the distance to the center of the nucleus of NGC 3982 lessens. NGC 3982 is an amazing 68 million light-years distant in the constellation Ursa Major and is currently speeding away from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at a recession velocity of 1187 km/s. NGC 3982 is also a smaller spiral galaxy and spans about 30,000 light years, which is only about one-third the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomers use the Hubble Space Telescope

Astronomers are looking at spiral galaxy NGC 3982, and other similar galaxies, in the hopes of viewing a celestial event of amazing intensity and power, a supernova. They’re currently using the instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope to look for a supernova in the spiral and other galaxies, but soon the James Webb Space Telescope will add its star gazing ability to this job. They want to check current theories on how supernova occur and possibly the types of stars that end their lives in these spectacular explosions. Their search will be primarily in the bright blue knots in NGC 3982’s spiral arms, but they’ll certainly expand their search as the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” continues to expand.

If you love astronomy, check out my latest astronomy site at http://astronomytonight.yolasite.com/, and then drop me a line and let me know what you think?

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/.

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/.

Black Holes in Unusual Places

Black holes and humans have more in common than we first thought, we can both be a little off-center

Black holes are being found in unusual places
Large black holes like this one are found at the center of galaxy M31

Black holes are one of astronomy’s greatest mysteries

Astronomy News – Astronomers have discovered a rather unusual black hole –

Black holes are unusual celestial objects typically found at the center of galaxies, according to space scientists and astronomers, but space scientists at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands think they have found a black hole a little off-center. Astronomers typically find black holes by looking for strong x-ray sources near the places they think black holes should exist. Friction heats matter falling into a strong gravity source, such as a black hole, creating copious amounts of x-rays, which space scientists use to locate possible black holes. Astronomers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands believe they have found a black hole in a less typical location in one nondescript galaxy.

Black holes are unusual celestial objects typically found at the center of galaxies, according to space scientists and astronomers, but space scientists at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands think they have found a black hole a little off-center. Astronomers typically find black holes by looking for strong x-ray sources near the places they think black holes should exist. Friction heats matter falling into a strong gravity source, such as a black hole, creating copious amounts of x-rays, which space scientists use to locate possible black holes. Astronomers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands believe they have found a black hole in a less typical location in one nondescript galaxy.

The black hole in question appears to be located about 10,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy in question. What’s this 1-billion-solar-mass black hole doing so far from the center of the galaxy? Space scientists postulate, using the available facts, that large black holes, like the one in question, could be created during the collision of two smaller black holes. This would eject the bigger black hole out of the galaxy’s center at high-speed, space scientists believe, and could be one-way black holes could be relocated to another galactic address.

This black hole is slightly off-centre

Read about NASA’s Messenger spacecraft and its mission to Mercury

Have you heard about the recent meteorite that exploded near the Ural Mountains

Read about the supernova astronomers are studying looking for a black hole they think was created during the explosion