Hubble spots a colorful lenticular galaxy

Nov 12, 2012
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful galaxy that, with its reddish and yellow central area, looks rather like an explosion from a Hollywood movie. The galaxy, called NGC 5010, is in a period of transition. The aging galaxy is moving on from life as a spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way, to an older, less defined type called an elliptical galaxy. In this in-between phase, astronomers refer to NGC 5010 as a lenticular galaxy, which has features of both spirals and ellipticals.

NGC 5010 is located around 140 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy is oriented sideways to us, allowing Hubble to peer into it and show the dark, dusty, remnant bands of spiral arms. NGC 5010 has notably started to develop a big bulge in its disk as it takes on a more rounded shape.

Most of the stars in NGC 5010 are red and elderly. The galaxy no longer contains all that many of the fast-lived blue stars common in younger galaxies that still actively produce new populations of stars.

Much of the dusty and gaseous fuel needed to create fresh stars has already been used up in NGC 5010. Over time, the galaxy will grow progressively more "red and dead," as astronomers describe .

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys snapped this image in violet and infrared light.

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User comments : 3

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Tuxford
1 / 5 (7) Nov 12, 2012
How long ago was it that the reverse was assumed? That ellipticals became spirals? Anyway, how can it grow from a spiral to an elliptical unless there is a mighty source of new gas there-within???? I don't see any collision candidates in the vicinity, like to many others... Uh,...I'm just ask'n.
Shinichi D_
5 / 5 (2) Nov 13, 2012
How long ago was it that the reverse was assumed? That ellipticals became spirals? Anyway, how can it grow from a spiral to an elliptical unless there is a mighty source of new gas there-within???? I don't see any collision candidates in the vicinity, like to many others... Uh,...I'm just ask'n.


Who said, that the galaxy is growing? It's evolving. If star formation drops under a certain level, the galaxy becomes more and more dominated by dwarf stars. Simply because the massive blue and white stars die much faster. Dwarfs exist much longer. A galaxy dominated by stars lasting long enough to wander away from their original orbit, would loose the spirlal structures after a while.
This galaxy is dominated by old stars, and lacks of fresh star forming matter. It's a beautifull refute to your constant creation ideas.
visualhawk
not rated yet Nov 13, 2012
How long ago was it that the reverse was assumed? That ellipticals became spirals? Anyway, how can it grow from a spiral to an elliptical unless there is a mighty source of new gas there-within???? I don't see any collision candidates in the vicinity, like to many others... Uh,...I'm just ask'n.


Ellipticals are often the result of the merger of many proto - galaxies in the high density regions of star clusters or the merger of such with e.g. a spiral galaxy. It need not be that two huge spirals have to collide to result in an elliptical.

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