Hubble captures stunning image of lenticular galaxy

Galaxy IC 335 resides in a galactic cluster 60 million light-years from Earth.
By Andrew McDonald | Dec 27, 2014
According to a NASA statement, the agency's Hubble Space Telescope has obtained a wondrous view of Galaxy IC 335. The image has been released by NASA and ESA. IC 335 appears edge-on in the image. IC 335 is about 45,000 light-years across and is one of four galaxies in the Fornax Galaxy Cluster located about 60 million light-years away.

The edge-on view of IC 335 makes it difficult to discern the galaxy's exact structure and to classify it. It appears to be an S0 lenticular galaxy, a type of galactic structure intermediate between elliptical galaxies and spiral galaxies, such as our own Milky Way. IC 335 is similar to elliptical galaxies in its spectra, size, and indistinct arms. IC 335 is similar to spiral galaxies in its thin stellar disk and central bulge.

However, lenticular galaxies such as IC 335 differ from most spiral galaxies in that they have depleted nearly all of their interstellar medium. The amount of gas left over is insufficient to sustain a high rate of star formation. Lenticular galaxies consist mostly of old stars, as do elliptical galaxies.

S0 lenticular galaxies represent aging and fading spiral galaxies. The former spiral galaxy might have never interacted with another galaxy, or it might have merged with another spiral; thus, a lenticular galaxy might represent the aged remnant of a pair of merged spiral galaxies.

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