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Hubble Sees Galaxy on Edge


Grant
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Source: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2006/24/

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This is a unique view of the disk galaxy NGC 5866 tilted nearly edge-on to our line-of-sight. Hubble's sharp vision reveals a crisp dust lane dividing the galaxy into two halves. The image highlights the galaxy's structure: a subtle, reddish bulge surrounding a bright nucleus, a blue disk of stars running parallel to the dust lane, and a transparent outer halo. NGC 5866 is a disk galaxy of type "S0" (pronounced s-zero). Viewed face on, it would look like a smooth, flat disk with little spiral structure. It remains in the spiral category because of the flatness of the main disk of stars as opposed to the more spherically rotund (or ellipsoidal) class of galaxies called "ellipticals." Such S0 galaxies, with disks like spirals and large bulges like ellipticals, are called 'lenticular' galaxies. NGC 5866 lies in the Northern constellation Draco, at a distance of 44 million light-years. It has a diameter of roughly 60,000 light-years only two-thirds the diameter of the Milky Way, although its mass is similar to our galaxy. This Hubble image of NGC 5866 is a combination of blue, green and red observations taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in February 2006.
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Apparently, the jury is still out. :)

What are they deciding; whether or not its a spiral?

Whether or not it's M102. There was some confusion in translating Sir Charles' notes on M102, especially when the observations were actually done by Mr. Mechain, his assistant. For years, they thought M102 was a repeat observation of M101, with an error in position reported. Only recently, it's been fairly accepted that Ngc 5866 IS M102, but still not everyone agrees. I'd have thought at least some mention would have been made by STscI. :scratch:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is a question for you all.

When we look at an image of a galaxy just like this one we see the "cloudy glow" that surrounds it

is this just dust or could it be billions of smaller stars?

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Here is a question for you all.

When we look at an image of a galaxy just like this one we see the "cloudy glow" that surrounds it

is this just dust or could it be billions of smaller stars?

It's both. Mostly, it's stars though. The dust is mostly in the disk and would be invisible except for the stars it obscures. If you think about our Milky Way, you can see stars in all directions, (conditions permitting, of course). Above and below the glow of our own galaxy lie millions of stars. The constellations of Hercules, Virgo, Corvus, Leo in the north and Capricornus, Pegasus and Aquarius in the south are all beyond the plane of the MW, but there are plenty of stars visible there. The same could be said of M102. Spherical galaxies however have hardly any dust, and are pretty much all stars, since they don't display dark lanes as M102 does.

I hope this helps.

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