Feb 6, 2009

NGC 4921, In The Coma Galaxy Cluster

Everywhere one looks in space, in any direction, billions of galaxies each with billions upon billions of stars surround our Milky Way. Many of these massive formations have attracted each other through their gravitational pull, and reside in areas called Galaxy Clusters. The Coma Galaxy Cluster, about 320 million light years from earth, contains over 100 galaxies.

Galaxies come in several varieties:

Spiral Galaxies like the one below have distinguishable "arms" which create the spiral effect, as the center of the galaxy spins faster than the outer regions.

Barred Spiral Galaxies have one large "bar" which begins forming a spiral at it's two ends. This one is rotating clock-wise as seen from our planet Earth.

Elliptical Galaxies have a nearly uniform shape, and the brightness from all it's stars seems to come from the entire galaxy, which is not divided into arms or spirals.

The galaxy at the top of this post is in the Coma Cluster and is a very rare type of spiral galaxy, and very beautiful. Click here for more information about it.
"It is an example of an "anaemic spiral" where the normal vigorous star formation that creates a spiral galaxy’s familiar bright arms is much less intense. As a result there is just a delicate swirl of dust in a ring around the galaxy, accompanied by some bright young blue stars that are clearly separated out by Hubble’s sharp vision. Much of the pale spiral structure in the outer parts of the galaxy is unusually smooth and gives the whole galaxy the ghostly look of a vast translucent jellyfish." - ( Science Daily )
Take a look at the top image. Notice the dozens upon dozens of other galaxies far in the background! They are everywhere! We are magnificently inconsequential.

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