Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy NGC 474: Shells and Star Streams
Posted on 01/04/2014 9:59:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: What's happening to galaxy NGC 474? The multiple layers of emission appear strangely complex and unexpected given the relatively featureless appearance of the elliptical galaxy in less deep images. The cause of the shells is currently unknown, but possibly tidal tails related to debris left over from absorbing numerous small galaxies in the past billion years. Alternatively the shells may be like ripples in a pond, where the ongoing collision with the spiral galaxy just above NGC 474 is causing density waves to ripple though the galactic giant. Regardless of the actual cause, the above image dramatically highlights the increasing consensus that at least some elliptical galaxies have formed in the recent past, and that the outer halos of most large galaxies are not really smooth but have complexities induced by frequent interactions with -- and accretions of -- smaller nearby galaxies. The halo of our own Milky Way Galaxy is one example of such unexpected complexity. NGC 474 spans about 250,000 light years and lies about 100 million light years distant toward the constellation of the Fish (Pisces).
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[Credit & Copyright: P.-A. Duc (CEA, CFHT), Atlas 3D Collaboration]
Absolutely mind-bogglingly spectacular!
Thank you so much, SunkenCiv.
At the absolute limit of light from our universe are hints of light from an infinite array of universes.
Thinking about space and time in an infinite universe has no meaning. The universe is an expression of consciousness, God consciousness if you like. Hawking said that any element of reality is reflective of all reality. We can grasp the immensity of the universe by focusing on a grain of sand and expanding our consciousness to include its every aspect. Infinity lies in either direction - mini to maxi. We must avoid the quandry of infinity if we are to grasp reality.
Sorry for the rant. Had to get that off my mind.
I think NGC 474 is misnamed.
It should be
;’) I suspect ncc1701 has been assigned to an asteroid by now.
Oh yeah, I think I went to school with him.