Hubble telescope captures Messier 85 galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken an amazing photo of the Messier 85 galaxy. It occupies an intermediate position between lenticular and elliptical galaxies and is located at a distance of 50 million light-years from us.

Messier 85. Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. O’Connell

Messier 85

The Hubble Space Telescope captured the Messier 85 galaxy, or simply M85. It was discovered in 1781 by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain. And his friend Charles Messier added it to his famous catalog, by the number in which it is now known.

Messier 85 is located 50 light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is far beyond the Local Group, but still close enough to the Milky Way. 

It is slightly larger than our Galaxy, its diameter is about 125 thousand light years, but the total mass is about the same as that of the Milky Way — 400 billion solar masses. In general, it resembles our Galaxy a little, since it does not have spiral arms.

Galaxy Features

Messier 85 occupies an intermediate position between elliptical and lenticular galaxies. In addition, judging by the photo, it interacts with two of its neighbors. One of them is the beautiful NGC 4394, which does not get into the picture and is located above and to the left. The second is a small elliptical MCG 3-32-38, which also does not get into the picture.

Messier 85 mainly consists of very old stars. However, in the central part there is a population of relatively young luminaries that are only a few billion years old. It is believed that these stars formed during a late burst of star formation, probably caused by the merger of Messier 85 with another galaxy more than four billion years ago.

Messier 85 has another strange property. It is believed that almost every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center.However, scientists are not sure about this star system, some studies show this object is in its center, and others — that it is not there.

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