Hubble captures the Unusual Lenticular Galaxy

NGC 1947, an unusual lenticular galaxy photographed by NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ESA / Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario, Thanks: L. Shatz

This unusual lenticular galaxy, known as NGC 1947, lost almost all its gas and dust from the signature spiral arms that previously circulated in its center. Discovered by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop, who studied the sky from Australia about 200 years ago, NGC 1947 can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, in the constellation Dorado (Dolphinfish).

Located about 40 million light-years from Earth, this galaxy reveals its structure by illuminating the remaining weak gas and dust disk with millions of stars. This picture was taken with NASA/ BU Hubble Space Telescope, the weak remnants of the spiral arms of the galaxy can still be made in the thin strands of dark gas that surround it. Without much star-forming material, the birth of many new stars in NGC 1947 is unlikely, and this galaxy will continue to fade over time.

IAU Dorado Graphics

IAU Dorado schedule. Credit: IAU and Sky & Telescope Magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) CC BY 3.0

A lenticular galaxy is a type of intermediate galaxy between elliptical and spiral galaxies in galaxy morphological classification schemes. Contains a large-scale disc, but no large-scale spiral sleeves. Lenticular galaxies are disk galaxies with star formations that have exhausted or lost much of their interstellar matter and therefore last very little.

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