Like bees around a cosmic beehive
Space news (lenticular galaxies) – 100 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major (The Great Bear) –
The galaxy seen here is NGC 5308, a typical lenticular galaxy swarmed by star clusters circling around it like bees around a beehive. The Hubble Space Telescope image seen here is edge-on in relation to the galaxy, which offers a great view of the halo formed by the dense collection of older stars orbiting this island universe.
Edge-on lenticular galaxies like NGC 5308 are S0 on the Hubble Tuning Fork classification system and are considered a transitional type between elliptical and spiral galaxies. But scientists are still trying to figure out the right formation theory for this type of galaxy. We’ll talk more about the current lenticular galaxy formation theory in a later article.
Also known as LEDA 48860 and UGC 8722, galaxies like this island universe are often referred to as armless spiral galaxies by astronomers. They usually have no obvious structure in their disks and are composed primarily of older, red stars. Lenticular galaxies like NGC 5308 often also appear more like elliptical galaxies than spirals, but usually have more dust.
Lenticular galaxies can often be mistaken for EO type galaxies if their central bulge isn’t very bright. They also don’t have spiral arms alive with bright, young stars as observed in spiral galaxies. But are found in some cases with a bar and in this case are classified as a barred lenticular galaxy (SBO).
Learn more about lenticular galaxies.
Take the space voyage of NASA to present day here.
Learn more about the Hubble Tuning Fork and its system of galaxy classification.
Voyage to distant cosmic discoveries with the ESA here.
Read about the Red Rectangle, a very unusual celestial object.
Read about astronomers viewing a new galaxy forming.