Hubble Captures Fluffy Spiral Galaxy with an Empty Center


NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of a lovely fluffy-looking spiral galaxy that’s no longer producing any stars at its central galactic bulge. 

The galaxy, known as NGC 2775, is located around 67 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer and is classified as a "flocculent" (fluffy-looking) spiral galaxy. The long feathered spiral arms surround a massive and bright central bulge—once a hotbed of star formation—now relatively empty. While its central galactic bulge finished forming stars countless years ago, the spiral arms contain millions of intensely bright, hot, and young blue stars. 

Artist’s concept of the Milky Way galaxy. Most spiral galaxies look similar to the Milky Way, with luscious and well-defined arms spiralling from their centre. 

Astronomers believe hot blue stars trigger star formation in gas clouds lingering nearby, which is why in between the stars are dark and feathery lanes of dust. The feathery pattern of the dust lanes is due to the galaxy's rotation during the star formation process. Unlike the Milky Way and other spiral galaxies, NGC 2775’s arms are far more tightly condensed. This makes the arms appear less well-defined, and also makes NGC 2775 look "fluffier" overall. 

Submitted by James Heidlebaugh on Fri, 07/17/2020 - 13:31