Image: Hubble spotlight on irregular galaxy IC 3583

December 5, 2016
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

This delicate blue group of stars—actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583—sits some 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin).

It may seem to have no discernable structure, but IC 3583 has been found to have a bar of stars running through its center. These structures are common throughout the Universe, and are found within the majority of spiral, many irregular, and some . Two of our closest cosmic neighbors, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, are barred, indicating that they may have once been barred spiral that were disrupted or torn apart by the of the Milky Way.

Researchers at the University of Leicester, England note there are two types of irregular galaxy. Type I's are usually single galaxies of peculiar appearance. They contain a large fraction of young stars, and show the luminous nebulae that are also visible in spiral galaxies. Type II irregulars include the group known as interacting or disrupting galaxies, in which the strange appearance is due to two or more galaxies colliding, merging or otherwise interacting gravitationally.

Something similar might be happening with IC 3583. This small galaxy is thought to be gravitationally interacting with one of its neighbors, the spiral Messier 90. Together, the duo form a pairing known as Arp 76. It's still unclear whether these flirtations are the cause of IC 3583's irregular appearance—but whatever the cause, the galaxy makes for a strikingly delicate sight in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, glimmering in the blackness of space.

Explore further: Hubble peers at a distinctly disorganized dwarf galaxy

Related Stories

Hubble peers at a distinctly disorganized dwarf galaxy

April 4, 2016

Despite being less famous than their elliptical and spiral galactic cousins, irregular dwarf galaxies, such as the one captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, are actually one of the most common types of galaxy ...

Hubble spots an irregular island in a sea of space

August 29, 2016

This image, courtesy of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), captures the glow of distant stars within NGC 5264, a dwarf galaxy located just over 15 million light-years away in the constellation ...

Image: Hubble nets a subtle swarm

November 21, 2016

This Hubble image shows NGC 4789A, a dwarf irregular galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices. It certainly lives up to its name—the stars that call this galaxy home are smeared out across the sky in an apparently ...

Hubble spots a lopsided Lynx

August 15, 2016

This galaxy, known as NGC 2337, resides 25 million light-years away in the constellation of Lynx. NGC 2337 is an irregular galaxy, meaning that it—along with a quarter of all galaxies in the universe—lacks a distinct, ...

Image: Hubble spies a spiral snowflake

May 16, 2016

Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique—like snowflakes, no two are alike. ...

Recommended for you

Solar minimum surprisingly constant

November 17, 2017

Using more than a half-century of observations, Japanese astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RNP
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2016
An image showing IC 3583 in relation to M90 can be found here: https://ned.ipac....2004.jpg

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.