Hubble photographs a rare galaxy

Astronomers working with the Hubble telescope have published a new image. It shows the unusual-looking core of the galaxy NGC 4753.

Lenticular galaxy NGC 4753. Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Kelsey

The galaxy photographed by Hubble is located at a distance of 60 million light-years from the Milky Way in the direction of the constellation Virgo. It attracts the interest of astronomers due to the characteristic dark brown lanes surrounding its core.

NGC 4753 is classified as lenticular galaxies. Such objects represent a transitional stage between spiral and elliptical galaxies. Like spiral galaxies, they have a disk and a bulge. At the same time, there is no visible spiral structure in them. Another important difference lies in the composition of the stellar population. As a rule, lenticular galaxies have already used up most of their gas reserves. Therefore, the rate of star formation in them is reduced. Lenticular galaxies are mostly inhabited by old luminaries, which makes them related to elliptical galaxies.

The Hubble image is interesting because it represents the most detailed look at lenticular galaxies to date, showing the complex dust structures at its core. According to astronomers, NGC 4753 was formed as a result of a merger with a nearby dwarf galaxy that occurred about 1.3 billion years ago. Dust lanes in the core of NGC 4753 appeared as a result of this event.

It is now believed that most of the mass of lenticular galaxies like NGC 4753 is concentrated in their halos in the form of so-called dark matter. Dark matter is a form of matter that does not participate in electromagnetic interaction, which makes it impossible to observe it directly. It is believed that it accounts for about 85% of all matter in the universe.

Given its low density and complex structure, NGC 4753 is also of scientific interest for testing various theories of lenticular galaxy formation. In addition, there have been two Type Ia supernova outbreaks. They are used by astronomers as standard candles to measure distances in the universe.

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