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Solving the riddle of the edge-on galaxy NGC 5866

12 Aug 2019, 13:00 UTC
Solving the riddle of the edge-on galaxy NGC 5866
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Just a few months ago, I wrote about a very odd galaxy, one that can't seem to make up its mind what it's doing. I have more info now, so I want to follow up on it — I do believe the mystery behind it has been solved.

Called NGC 5866, it's a little over 40 million light years away, and something of a loner. It's not in a galaxy cluster or group or anything like that; it appears to be on its own in space. And that's weird, because it's a special type of galaxy called an S0, a hybrid between a spiral galaxy — which are flat disks with spiral arms, and actively make stars — and an elliptical — puffy and spheroidal, and haven't made stars in a long time. S0 galaxies are flat disks, but don't have arms, and haven't made stars in a long time.

One idea is that they lack the gas and dust to make stars. A good way to do this is if they are in clusters of galaxies; as they move rapidly through the cluster, gas in between galaxies strips out the gas from inside the S0, leaving it without the ...

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