The Hubble Telescope reveals to us an amazing view of Galaxy NGC 5866 on its edge. The picture from the Hubble reveals many features of the galaxy,
such as its type, a S0 (S Zero) spiral galaxy, its size, roughly two-thirds the size of the Milky Way, and even the galaxy's past. Overall, an
interesting find for the Hubble.
Hubble's sharp vision reveals a crisp dust lane dividing the galaxy into two halves. The image highlights the galaxy's structure: a subtle, reddish
bulge surrounding a bright nucleus, a blue disk of stars running parallel to the dust lane, and a transparent outer halo.
For spiral galaxies, the incidence of these fingers of dust correlates well with indicators of how many stars have been formed recently, as the input
of energy from young massive stars moves gas and dust around to create these structures. The thinness of dust lanes in S0s has been discussed in
ground-based galaxy atlases, but it took the resolution of Hubble to show that they can have their own smaller fingers and chimneys of dust.
NGC 5866 lies in the Northern constellation Draco, at a distance of 44 million light-years (13.5 Megaparsecs). It has a diameter of roughly 60,000
light-years (18,400 parsecs) only two-thirds the diameter of the Milky Way, although its mass is similar to our galaxy. This Hubble image of NGC 5866
is a combination of blue, green and red observations taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in November 2005.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
I've always been interested in the amazing pictures from the Hubble, and this one is amazing, if only because of its oddity compared to what we have
seen before. I think these discoveries are reason enough to keep the Hubble program alive, or prompt the speed up of a replacement program.
Do yourself a favor and take a look at the higher resolution images. (The largest tops out at about 23MB) The images are amazing, and not only for the
galaxy in question, but for all the other details of the picture as well.
[edit on 9-6-2006 by intrepid]