June 20, 2024

Optical illusions? Hubble images an unusual lenticular galaxy

It’s another breathtaking image given to us by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 13, 2024. It shows a dust-filled galaxy unscientifically called the Trainwreck Galaxy because of its appearance.

A galaxy like a train wreck

Trainwreck galaxy is a general term that refers to a galaxy severely distorted by gravitational interaction. Such galaxies appear chaotic and have unusual shapes, reminiscent of the wreckage of a train wreck—hence their name.

The latest image was taken by Hubble shortly after Similar registration Released with the Gemini South Telescope in January, it shows NGC 4753 in more detail than ever before. In the center of the image we see a bright white core surrounded by dark brown dust lanes. They form a kind of mesh-like tunnel around the heart.

NGC 4753: A mixture of spiral and elliptical galaxies

Like the US Space Agency NASA It shows that the lenticular galaxy NGC 4753 is a cross between a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way and an elliptical galaxy. Lenticular galaxies have a central bulge and disk. This initially makes it resemble a spiral galaxy. But then it lacks the distinctive spiral arms, which appear to be teeming with stars.

Instead, at this point, lenticular galaxies show similarities to elliptical galaxies, which are populated by stars that appear to be arranged in a featureless pattern. These scattered stars are often older. In general, only a few new stars are born.

Is the shape of the lens just an optical illusion?

However, it seems possible that the classification of NGC 4753 as lens-shaped is simply the result of an optical illusion. Because some scientists suspect that the unique appearance of NGC 4753 could simply be due to our view. If you look at it from above rather than from the side, it may resemble a spiral galaxy, says the National Science Foundation.

We’ve known about NGC 4753 since 1784. It was discovered by astronomer William Herschel, and has since been the site of two known supernova explosions. These were very rare Type Ia supernovae, in which binary star systems consisting of a white dwarf star and a larger companion star explode.

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