Hubble Space Telescope Captures Ghostly Lenticular Galaxy
Scientists working with the Hubble Space Telescope have released their latest image, showcasing a lenticular galaxy located 44 million light-years away. This particular galaxy, known as NGC 6684, can be found in the constellation of Pavo and is visible from the Southern Hemisphere.
Lenticular Galaxies: A Blend of Spiral and Elliptical
Lenticular galaxies, unlike the spiral galaxies we are familiar with, have a more amorphous and diffuse structure with a central disk. They are considered to be a transitional form between spiral and elliptical galaxies. Elliptical galaxies are smooth and featureless, lacking the distinct spiral arms found in spirals.
One notable characteristic of lenticular galaxies is the absence of interstellar matter, such as dust and gas. This lack of material limits the creation of new stars within these galaxies, resulting in a low rate of star formation. The absence of dust lanes further enhances the ghostly appearance of lenticular galaxies, as seen in the image captured by Hubble.
Every Known Nearby Galaxy Program
The image of NGC 6684 was part of Hubble’s ongoing program called “Every Known Nearby Galaxy,” which aims to observe all known galaxies within 10 megaparsecs (32.6 million light-years) of Earth that have not yet been imaged. Prior to this program, Hubble had already observed approximately 75% of these nearby galaxies.
By completing this census, scientists hope to gain insights into the stars that make up a wide variety of galaxies in different environments. This comprehensive survey will contribute to our understanding of galaxy evolution and the factors influencing star formation.
Other Fascinating Discoveries
Alongside NGC 6684, the Every Known Nearby Galaxy program has also captured images of other intriguing galaxies. One of them is LEDA 48062, a faint and sparse galaxy that stands out in a diverse setting among various other galaxy types. Another notable observation is the small and fuzzy dwarf galaxy UGCA 307.
Hubble has also imaged other nearby galaxies as part of different research programs. For instance, it provided a stunningly detailed image of the Triangulum galaxy, our close neighbor, revealing its full spiral face as it stretches across nearly 20,000 light-years.
The Hubble Space Telescope continues to amaze us with its ability to capture stunning images of galaxies located millions of light-years away. The recent image of the lenticular galaxy NGC 6684 showcases its unique structure and ghostly appearance.
The ongoing Every Known Nearby Galaxy program is allowing scientists to gain a deeper understanding of the stars within different types of galaxies and their evolution. By completing this comprehensive census, we are unlocking valuable insights into the universe’s vastness and complexity.
Hubble’s continuous exploration of our cosmic neighborhood reminds us of the beauty and mystery that lies beyond our planet, inspiring further research and discoveries in the field of astronomy.