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A Transformation in Virgo
RA 12h 25m 46.52s Dec 12° 39' 54.49"
60 million light years
5.6 by 1.5 arcmin
2.51 x 1.77 arcminutes
North is 26.4° left of vertical
ESA/Hubble & NASA
December 5, 2016
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of this cosmic community, NGC 4388, is captured in this image, as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopes Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). It was discovered by William Herschel on April 17, 1784
Located some 60 million light-years away, NGC 4388 is experiencing some of the less desirable effects that come with belonging to such a massive galaxy cluster. It is undergoing a transformation, and has taken on a somewhat confused identity.
the galaxys outskirts appear smooth and featureless, a classic feature
of an elliptical galaxy, its center displays remarkable dust lanes constrained
within two symmetric spiral arms, which emerge from the galaxys
glowing core one of the obvious features of a spiral galaxy. Within
the arms, speckles of bright blue mark the locations of young stars, indicating
that NGC 4388 has hosted recent bursts of star formation.