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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Warped Spiral Galaxy ESO 510-13 
From NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day


Explanation: How did spiral galaxy ESO 510-13 get bent out of shape? The disks of many spirals are thin and flat, but not solid. Spiral disks are loose conglomerations of billions of stars and diffuse gas allgravitationally orbiting a galaxy center. A flat disk is thought to be created by sticky collisions of large gas clouds early in the galaxy's formation


Warped disks are not uncommon, though, and even our ownMilky Way Galaxy is thought to have a small warp. The causes of spiral warps are still being investigated, but some warps are thought to result from interactions or even collisions between galaxies. ESO 510-13pictured above digitally sharpened, is about 150 million light years away and about 100,000 light years across.







CLICK TO ENLARGE. 
Image Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), C. Conselice (U. Wisconsin/STScI) et al., NASA

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