Hubble captures a giant elliptical galaxy surrounded by ghostly shells

(ORDO NEWS) — The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a fascinating new view of a giant galaxy more than twice the size of the Milky Way.

Known as NGC 474, this elliptical galaxy is located about 100 million light-years from Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope provided a detailed view of the central region of the galaxy, giving an idea of ​​its truly gigantic size.

Galaxy NGC 474, which is approximately 250,000 light-years in diameter, is about 2.5 times larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. However, the size of NGC 474 is not its only unique feature, according to a statement from NASA following the release of this new image.

Recent observations made with the help of Hubble have shown that the spherical core of the galaxy NGC 474 is surrounded by a complex of layered shells.

Although the true source of the shells has not been definitively determined, it is thought that they may be the result of a galactic collision in which NGC 474 swallowed up one or more smaller galaxies, according to the statement.

During a galactic merger, the swallowed galaxy can create waves, forming the layered shells seen in the galaxy NGC 474. This is similar to the waves spreading through the water when a stone falls into it.

“Approximately 10 percent of elliptical galaxies have shell structures, and unlike most cluster elliptical galaxies, layered elliptical galaxies typically lie in a relatively empty region of space,” NASA officials said in a statement. “Perhaps this is due to the absorption by galaxies of this type of their galactic neighbors.”

This new image was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The researchers also used data from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 and Wide Field Camera 3 to get a complete picture of this massive galaxy.

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