Singing: We Are a Family, We’ve Got a Lot of Ga-lax-ies

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(Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy cluster Abell 370)Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)

What appropriate words from Sister Sledge (with a little bit of me added in)!  Well, isn’t that what the universe is?  One big families with numerous galaxies, right?

In a recent article I read on Space.com entitled, Paging Star-Lord! Hubble Spies Hundreds of Galaxies That Need Guarding, author Hanneke Weitering talks about some new shots of several galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  One galaxy cluster located in the images in particular was Abell 370.  The galaxies within this cluster were pretty faint so the observers used gravitational lensing to help view the celestial bodies.

Although the clusters and specific galaxies are a little fuzzy, from the picture you can still see some of the coloring present within the arms of the different types of galaxies.  As we learned in class, the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy.  The outer portion of barred spiral galaxies and spiral galaxies tend to have more blue coloring around the arms or edges of the galaxies.  This is a sign of hot, bright, luminous stars being formed or forming recently like the slide presentation from class shown below.

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In the picture at the top of the page, it is very clear (although tiny) that there are several galaxies that exhibit the same galaxy structure as our Milky Way by just observing the color and structure of the galaxies shown.

In a lecture tutorial we worked on in class entitled, Galaxy Classification (a portion pictured below), we reviewed the different shapes of galaxies represented within our solar system and how their coloring tells us a lot about the activity that may or may not be going on currently and what may have transpired in the past.

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Truthfully, we are a family of galaxies.  This article confirmed just a portion of that just by reading it and seeing the similarities among galaxies in the pictures.  What I find the most interesting is not just all the similarities among the galaxies pictured and that of our galaxy, but I find that gravitational lensing reminds me of the view one gets when the flash on their phone leaves a fuzzy remainder when taking pictures.  In a way, the similarities will help me to recognize the use of gravitational lensing in the future.

 

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