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Hubble captures the extraordinary image of the “soft galaxy”



Look at his pretty blurry weapons from the galaxy! Image credits: NASA.

The Hubble Space Telescope produced another gem: an impressive image of a galaxy located in the constellation of Cancer. Known as NGC 2775, the galaxy is 67 million light years away from Earth and has its arms spiraled out of focus by its center.

The “blurred”

; spirals of the galaxy are obscured by patchy gas clouds, which create a fur-like effect. We tend to think of galaxies as having clearly defined weapons (like the Milky Way, for example), but these “flocculent” galaxies can be much more common.

In fact, spiral galaxies represent only 10% of all galaxies. About 70% of them are believed to be flocculant (such as NGC 2775) or a flocculent hybrid.

NGC 2775 is also not alone. It appears to be orbiting a satellite galaxy, as indicated by a tail of hydrogen gas pointing to this neighboring galaxy.

NGC 2775 taken with a smaller telescope. Image Credits: University of Arizona.

We don’t know for sure how many galaxies there are; an analysis indicates 2 trillion galaxies, full of countless stars on the planets.

Many of these galaxies are known thanks to Hubble. Launched 30 years ago, Hubble has taken our understanding of outer space to the next level, traveling 4 billion miles in a continuous orbit around the Earth and spurring over 15,000 scientific articles.

NASA is currently preparing to launch Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, in March 2021. James Webb will be able to look beyond Hubble’s emptiness at over 100 times the magnification.

In addition to many other tasks, astronomers will use the James Webb telescope to observe some of the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang.

Undoubtedly, many of these will be fluffy.


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