From NASA JPL: “NASA’s Spitzer Finds Galaxy With Split Personality”


Whitney Clavin
April 24, 2012

While some galaxies are rotund and others are slender disks like our spiral Milky Way, new observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is both. The galaxy, which is a round elliptical galaxy with a thin disk embedded inside, is one of the first known to exhibit characteristics of the two different types. The findings will lead to a better understanding of galaxy evolution, a topic still poorly understood.

The infrared vision of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that the Sombrero galaxy — named after its appearance in visible light to a wide-brimmed hat — is in fact two galaxies in one. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

‘The Sombrero is more complex than previously thought,’ said Dimitri Gadotti of the European Southern Observatory in Chile and lead author of a new paper on the findings appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ‘The only way to understand all we know about this galaxy is to think of it as two galaxies, one inside the other.’”

See the full article here.

The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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