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Hubble Captures Rare Lenticular Galaxy -- Why are Astronomers Interested?

Sep 19, 2016 05:54 AM EDT

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope spotted another rare galaxy called a lenticular galaxy. Found in the midst of darkness, the single source glows brightly in deep space. The soft glow of the lenticular galaxy is visible along a "picturesque" backdrop with distant stars and heavenly bodies such as other galaxies.

A lenticular galaxy is a type of galaxy that is between the familiar elliptical and spiral varieties. Astronomers are interested in sightings of lenticular types of galaxies because this formation is between being an elliptical or a spiral form. Lenticulars possesses almost no interstellar matter and very little star formation but is habituated by aging stars.

The presence of aging stars in lenticular galaxies makes them a bit similar to elliptical galaxies where stars that are more or less one-billion-year-old are located, according to Planet Facts. Lenticular galaxies also possess very little molecular gas that makes it unable to form new stars. Astronomers are used to observing stellar nurseries, but lenticular galaxies are different.

The way lenticular galaxies look is also very different from the two typical ones. Galaxies of this type have a predominant bulge and also a disc, but due to the lack of star formation, it looks rather flat without spiral arms. It can also be mistaken as a dying galaxy by non-trained eyes.

Capturing a glowing lenticular galaxy highlights the picturesque outskirts and the core of PGC 83677 galaxy. In the image, astronomers were also able to identify that a "monstrous black hole" is emitting charged X-rays and ultraviolet light in the region.

What makes this particular galaxy more interesting is the fact that it has a dark secret, a monstrous galaxy in its core, according to a report. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and its Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) captured the image of the rare lenticular galaxy, according to NASA.

Astronomers are continuously studying this type of galaxy to further understand why it possesses the characteristics that it has. The Hubble Space Telescope is a great tool to aid in studying different formations in the universe using specialized cameras capable of observing the entire optical spectrum of space, including infrared to ultraviolet.


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