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Stunning images: A twisted galaxy discovered by Hubble may hide a cosmic illusion

Stunning images: A twisted galaxy discovered by Hubble may hide a cosmic illusion

The Hubble Space Telescope's stunning image of the warped, dusty “train wreck” galaxy NGC 4753 reveals what may be one of the greatest optical illusions in the nearby universe.

This is the best image ever taken of NGC 4753, a galaxy with uniquely distorted dust lanes that have led some to call it a “trainwreck galaxy,” according to reports. Live sciences.

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope, released on the heels of a similar image taken by the Gemini South telescope in January, shows the warped galaxy NGC 4753 in more detail than ever before.

What exactly do we see?

In the center of the image is a bright white core, with dark brown dust lanes forming an almost web-like tunnel or tent around the core.

NGC 4753 is a lenticular galaxy – a cross between a Milky Way-like spiral galaxy and an elliptical galaxy.

A thousand faces of galaxies

Our Milky Way Galaxy is one example of a broad class of spiral galaxies characterized by the presence of spiral arms. These galaxies resemble giant spinning pinwheels, with a pancake-like stellar disk and a central bulge or narrow concentration of stars. NASA.

Elliptical galaxies range in shape from perfectly circular to elliptical. They are less common than spiral galaxies. Unlike spirals, they typically contain little gas and dust and show very little organization or structure. Stars orbit the core in random directions and tend to be older than spiral galaxies because they lack the gas needed to form new stars.

Perseus A is the black hole at the center of the lenticular galaxy NGC 1275. Source: Flickr/Robert Sullivan

Warped lenticular galaxies

Lenticular galaxies are a cross between spiral and elliptical galaxies. Spiral galaxies have a central bulge and disk, but no arms. But like elliptical galaxies, lenticular galaxies have older star clusters and little continuous star formation.

Scientists have several theories about the evolution of lenticular and warped galaxies. One idea is that these galaxies are older spiral galaxies whose arms have faded. Another suggests that lenses form from the merger of spiral galaxies.

Although it doesn't fit the picture

Scientists have suggested that NGC 4753's unique appearance is simply due to our way of seeing; If we look at it directly from above, a National Science Foundation It can resemble a spiral galaxy.

NGC 4753 is thought to have merged with a dwarf galaxy about 1.3 billion years ago, which may explain the source of the dust streaks surrounding its core.

A twisted galactic story

NGC 4753 was first discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1784, and has had two known supernova explosions since then. Both explosions were very rare Type Ia supernovae: binary star systems consisting of a white dwarf star (the compact remains of a Sun-like star) and a larger, exploding companion star. Because these types of supernovae glow with exactly the same intrinsic brightness, astronomers use them to measure the distance of the universe. They can even be used to measure how fast the universe is expanding.

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