Recently in the Galaxies Category

Massive galaxies in the Universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies, according to research by Australian scientists.

Galaxy mergers are quite common throughout the history of the Universe and for decades astronomers believed that these cosmic collisions led primarily to the formation massive elliptical galaxies.

This new image from the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in northern Chile shows a vast collection of stars, the globular cluster Messier 54.

Scientists believe they have found a way to explain why there are not as many galaxies orbiting the Milky Way as expected.

Naming Our Home Supercluster of Galaxies

Researchers are proposing a new way to evaluate these large-scale structures by examining their impact on the motions of galaxies.

Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed "Sparky," is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.

Hubble Views Distant Merging Galaxies

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and many other telescopes on the ground and in space, an international team of astronomers has obtained the best view yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the universe was only half its current age.

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have unexpectedly discovered the most distant galaxy that acts as a cosmic magnifying glass. Seen here as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, this monster elliptical galaxy breaks the previous record-holder by 200 million years.

When we look up to the heavens on a clear night, we see an immense dark sky with uncountable stars. With a small telescope we can also see galaxies, nebulae, and the disks of planets.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have probed the extreme outskirts of the stunning elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.

Meet the Seven New Dwarf Galaxies

Yale University astronomers, using a new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses, recently discovered seven celestial surprises while probing a nearby spiral galaxy. The previously unseen galaxies may yield important insights into dark matter and galaxy evolution, while possibly signaling the discovery of a new class of objects in space.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed an unusual structure 100,000 light years long, which resembles a corkscrew-shaped string of pearls and winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies.

Light from tiny galaxies over 13 billion years ago played a larger role than previously thought in creating the conditions in the universe as we know it today, a new study has found. Ultraviolet (UV) light from stars in these faint dwarf galaxies helped strip interstellar hydrogen of electrons in a process called reionization.

Scientists studying a 'twin' of the Milky Way have used the W. M. Keck Observatory and Subaru Observatory to accurately model how it is swallowing another, smaller galaxy.

The subject of this Hubble image is NGC 5474, a dwarf galaxy located 21 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). This beautiful image was taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

Astronomers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have produced a spectacular image revealing new details of violent collisions involving at least four clusters of galaxies.

Taking center stage in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a galaxy known as NGC 3081, set against an assortment of glittering galaxies in the distance.

Colliding Galaxy Clusters

Astronomers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have produced a spectacular image revealing new details of violent collisions involving at least four clusters of galaxies.

The structures and star populations of massive galaxies appear to change as they age, but much about how these galaxies formed and evolved remains mysterious.

Using state of the art computer simulations, a team of French astrophysicists have for the first time explained a long standing mystery: why surges of star formation (so called 'starbursts') take place when galaxies collide.

Bright Galaxy Centaurus A

Centaurus A is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky -- making it an ideal target for amateur astronomers -- and is famous for the dust lane across its middle and a giant jet blasting away from the supermassive black hole at its center. Cen A is an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth.

Spiral Galaxy M51

M51 is a spiral galaxy, about 30 million light years away, that is in the process of merging with a smaller galaxy seen to its upper left.

Hubble Peers at the Heart of NGC 5793

This new Hubble image is centered on NGC 5793, a spiral galaxy over 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra.

Touring the Milky Way now is as easy as clicking a button with NASA's new zoomable, 360-degree mosaic presented Thursday at the TEDActive 2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

The largest census of dust in local galaxies has been completed using data from ESA's Herschel space observatory, providing a huge legacy to the scientific community.

The Dusty Heart of an Active Galaxy

An international research team has obtained the most detailed view so far of the warm dust in the environment of a supermassive black hole in an active galaxy.

We live in a galaxy known as the Milky Way -- a vast conglomeration of 300 billion stars, planets whizzing around them, and clouds of gas and dust floating in between.

The Andromeda Galaxy is surrounded by a swarm of small satellite galaxies.

Using the sharp-eyed NASA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have for the first time precisely measured the rotation rate of a galaxy based on the clock-like movement of its stars.

Frontier Fields Hangout at AAS 224

At this year's 224th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, lead investigator for Frontier Fields, Dr. Jennifer Lotz chats with Tony Darnell and Alberto Conti about the latest observations of galaxy cluster Abell 2744

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51 or NGC 5194, is one of the most spectacular examples of a spiral galaxy.

The first day of March 1780 was a particularly productive night for Charles Messier. Combing the constellation of Leo for additions to his grand astronomical catalog, he struck on not one, but two, new objects.

Recent observations by NASA's Swift spacecraft have provided scientists a unique glimpse into the activity at the center of our galaxy and led to the discovery of a rare celestial entity that may help them test predictions of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.

The first of a set of unprecedented, super-deep views of the universe from an ambitious collaborative program called The Frontier Fields is being released today at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

This new Hubble image shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 660, located around 45 million light-years away from us.

This sprinkling of cosmic glitter makes up the galaxy known as ESO 149-3, located some 20 million light-years away from us.

Hubble Sees Anemic Spiral NGC 4921

How far away is spiral galaxy NGC 4921? Although presently estimated to be about 310 million light years distant, a more precise determination could be coupled with its known recession speed to help humanity better calibrate the expansion rate of the entire visible universe.

NGC 6946: The Fireworks Galaxy

NGC 6946 is a medium-sized, face-on spiral galaxy about 22 million light years away from Earth. In the past century, eight supernovas have been observed to explode in the arms of this galaxy.

Watching a tree grow might be more frustrating than waiting for a pot to boil, but luckily for biologists, there are tree rings. Beginning at a tree trunk's dense core and moving out to the soft bark, the passage of time is marked by concentric rings, revealing chapters of the tree's history.

Galaxy NGC 4945

This image provides a view into the central region of a galaxy that is similar in overall appearance to our own Milky Way, but contains a much more active supermassive black hole within the white area near the top.

3C353: Giant Plumes of Radiation

Jets generated by supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies can transport huge amounts of energy across great distances. 3C353 is a wide, double-lobed source where the galaxy is the tiny point in the center and giant plumes of radiation can be seen in X-rays from Chandra (purple) and radio data from the Very Large Array (orange).

University of California, Riverside astronomers Bahram Mobasher and Naveen Reddy are members of a team that has discovered the most distant galaxy ever found. The galaxy is seen as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only about 5 percent of its current age of 13.8 billion years.

Shapley Supercluster - A Cosmic Giant

While scanning the sky for the oldest cosmic light, ESA's Planck satellite has captured snapshots of some of the largest objects populating the Universe today: galaxy clusters and superclusters.

Hubble's View of Galaxy NGC 3621

This Hubble Picture of the Week is dedicated to the over 200 000 Facebook fans of ESA/Hubble, who share our passion for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the discoveries it brings.

Astronomers have detected cold streams of primordial hydrogen, vestigial matter left over from the Big Bang, fueling a distant star-forming galaxy in the early universe. Profuse flows of gas onto galaxies are believed to be crucial for explaining an era 10 billion years ago, when galaxies were copiously forming stars.

This image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0152.5-2852, captured in detail by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3.

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory and telescopes on the ground may have found the most crowded galaxy in our part of the universe.

One of the most important and massive parts of the galaxy is the galactic bulge. This huge central cloud of about 10 000 million stars spans thousands of light-years, but its structure and origin were not well understood.

For the first time, astronomers have seen the image of a distant quasar split into multiple images by the effects of a cloud of ionized gas in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomers have assembled, from more than 13 years of observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a series of time-lapse movies showing a jet of superheated gas -- 5,000 light-years long -- as it is ejected from a supermassive black hole.

Hubble Illusion Shows Cosmic Crash

Astronomical pictures sometimes deceive us with tricks of perspective. Right in the center of this image, two spiral galaxies appear to be suffering a spectacular collision, with a host of stars appearing to flee the scene of the crash in a chaotic stampede.

Astronomers have used observations from Hubble's CANDELS survey to explore the sizes, shapes, and colours of distant galaxies over the last 80% of the Universe's history.

Observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive cloud of multimillion-degree gas in a galaxy about 60 million light years from Earth.

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have solved a 40-year mystery on the origin of the Magellanic Stream, a long ribbon of gas stretching nearly halfway around our Milky Way galaxy.

This image was taken by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile -- the best place in the southern hemisphere for astronomical observing.

More than 12 billion years ago a star exploded, ripping itself apart and blasting its remains outward in twin jets at nearly the speed of light.

Our universe is filled with gobs of galaxies, bound together by gravity into larger families called clusters.

When Galaxies Switch Off

Some galaxies hit a point in their lives when their star formation is snuffed out, and they become "quenched".

Some Galaxies Growth Limited

Astronomers have long assumed that when a galaxy produces too many stars too quickly, it greatly reduces its capacity for producing stars in the future.

A Mysterious Old Spiral

This striking cosmic whirl is the centre of galaxy NGC 524, as seen with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy is located in the constellation of Pisces, some 90 million light-years from Earth.

It's Full of Galaxies

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is the largest of the Zodiac constellations, and the second largest overall after Hydra (The Water Snake). Its most appealing feature, however, is the sheer number of galaxies that lie within it.

Feeding Galaxy

An international group of astronomers that includes UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist Crystal Martin and former UCSB postdoctoral researcher Nicolas Bouché has spotted a distant galaxy hungrily snacking on nearby gas.

New Knowledge about Early Galaxies

The early galaxies of the universe were very different from today's galaxies. Using new detailed studies carried out with the ESO Very Large Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers, including members from the Niels Bohr Institute, have studied an early galaxy in unprecedented detail and determined a number of important properties such as size, mass, content of elements and have determined how quickly the galaxy forms new stars. The results are published in the scientific journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

This image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows NGC 4565, one of the nearest and brightest galaxies not included in the famous list by 18th-century comet hunter Charles Messier.

This image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows NGC 6744, one of the galaxies most similar to our Milky Way in the local universe. This ultraviolet view highlights the vast extent of the fluffy spiral arms, and demonstrates that star formation can occur in the outer regions of galaxies. The galaxy is situated in the constellation of Pavo at a distance of about 30 million light-years.

A CSIRO radio telescope has detected the raw material for making the first stars in galaxies that formed when the Universe was just three billion years old -- less than a quarter of its current age. This opens the way to studying how these early galaxies make their first stars.

Inseparable Galactic Twins

Looking towards the constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle), in the northern sky, lies the galaxy pair MRK 1034.

Colliding Galaxy Pair Takes Flight

This striking NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which shows what looks like the profile of a celestial bird, belies the fact that close encounters between galaxies are a messy business.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of nearby spiral galaxy Messier 61, also known as NGC 4303. The galaxy, located only 55 million light-years away from Earth, is roughly the size of the Milky Way, with a diameter of around 100 000 light-years.

This illustration shows a newfound reservoir of stellar fuel discovered by the Herschel space observatory (red). Stars are formed out of pools of gaseous hydrogen molecules. To locate these pools, astronomers have historically looked for carbon monoxide (CO), which is co-located with the hydrogen gas (orange).

The Sculptor galaxy is seen in a new light, in this composite image from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Visible data from the European Space Observatory show the backbone of the galaxy made up of stars, while NuSTAR data, which appear as colored blobs, show high-energy X-rays. The NuSTAR observations are the sharpest ever taken of this galaxy in high-energy X-rays.

A Very Bright Contortionist

The contorted object captured by Hubble in this picture is IRAS 22491-1808, also known as the South America Galaxy. It is an ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) that emits a huge amount of light at infrared wavelengths. The reason for this intense infrared emission lies in an episode of strong star formation activity, which was set off by a collision between two interacting galaxies.

Pinwheeling Across the Sky

The face-on Pinwheel spiral galaxy is seen at ultraviolet wavelengths in this image taken by ESA's XMM-Newton space telescope.

The least massive galaxy in the known universe has been measured by UC Irvine scientists, clocking in at just 1,000 or so stars with a bit of dark matter holding them together.