A spiral galaxy is a certain kind of galaxy originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae and, as such, forms part of the Hubble sequence. Spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge. These are surrounded by a much fainter halo of stars, many of which reside in globular clusters.
I was always puzzled by the tentacle-like spiral arms some galaxies (including our own) develop; it just seems so counter intuitive and senseless, that most researchers agreed they are only transient features, which come and go in galactic history. But astronomers working at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claim that these [...]
Though this might sound like an oxymoron, this is possible the best term to describe one of the most interesting recent astronomical finds – the lowest mass supermassive black hole discovered so far. The black hole was detected at the center of a late-spiral galaxy, which astronomers at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory initially believed it [...]
Pictured above is a galactic amalgam of the fantastic proportions, at the center of which lies the polar-ring galaxy NGC 660. Around it, space debris like gas and dust, the wreckage of a colossal galactic struggle, litter its surroundings. Only a few of these bizarre space objects have been discovered thus far. NGC 660 is in Pisces, [...]
The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile is back with yet another stunning gem. This spectacular spiral galaxy has hosted two supernova explosions over the last 30 years, making it particularly interesting. Supernovae are one of the brightest and most energetic events in the Universe. The galaxy’s name is NGC 1187, and is [...]
In a remarkable discovery, astronomers have found the oldest spiral galaxy to our knowledge – a three-armed spiral galaxy dating back nearly 11 billion years. It precedes any other previous record holder by about 2 billion years, basically sweeping away the competition. The spiral galaxy is so amazing that it caught astronomers completely by surprise, and [...]