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Not So Dead After All
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Name: Messier 110, NGC 205
Description: Dwarf elliptical galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 0h 40m 24.40s Dec 41° 41' 46.40"
Constellation: Andromeda
Distance: 3 million light years
Visual magnitude: 8.1
Angular size: 19.5' × 11.5'
Field of view: 2.36 x 1.77 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 41.4° left of vertical
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L.Ferrarese et al.
Release date: September 16, 2019

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Many of the best-loved galaxies in the cosmos are remarkably large, close, massive, bright, or beautiful, often with an unusual or intriguing structure or history. However, it takes all kinds to make a Universe - as demonstrated by this Hubble Picture of the Week of Messier 110. It was discovered on August 10, 1773 by Charles Messier.

Messier 110 may not look like much, but it is a fascinating near neighbor of our home galaxy, and an unusual example of its type. It is a member of the Local Group, a gathering of galaxies comprising the Milky Way and a number of the galaxies closest to it. Specifically, Messier 110 is one of the many satellite galaxies encircling the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest major galaxy to our own, and is classified as a dwarf elliptical galaxy, meaning that it has a smooth and almost featureless structure. Elliptical galaxies lack arms and notable pockets of star formation - both characteristic features of spiral galaxies. Dwarf ellipticals are quite common in groups and clusters of galaxies, and are often satellites of larger galaxies.

Because they lack stellar nurseries and contain mostly old stars, elliptical galaxies are often considered 'dead' when compared to their spiral relatives. However, astronomers have spotted signs of a population of young, blue stars at the center of Messier 110 - hinting that it may not be so dead after all.

This Hubble observation was taken in visible and near-infrared light with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The core of M110 is seen toward the lower right of the image, with the galaxy's globular clusters and numerous stars shown as points of light throughout the frame. Also featured in this Hubble image are large clouds of gas and dust, seen as dark splotches (one large region is located near the middle of the image and another, smaller one appears above the galaxy's core). Hubble took these observations of M110 to study the development of globular clusters located in the galaxy.
With a telescope, M110 is fairly easy to spot near the core of the much larger and brighter Andromeda galaxy. Smaller telescopes will only reveal a faint, diffuse patch of light, while larger telescopes will unveil an oval shape with a brighter core. The best time to view M110 is during November.