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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Atypical Elliptical Galaxy NGC 4696 as seen by Hubble

Atypical Elliptical Galaxy NGC 4696 as seen by Hubble
Click on the image for full resolution (2.4 MB)

This picture, taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, shows NGC 4696, the largest galaxy in the Centaurus Cluster. The huge dust lane, around 30 000 light-years across, that sweeps across the face of the galaxy makes NGC 4696 look different from most other elliptical galaxies. Viewed at certain wavelengths, strange thin filaments of ionised hydrogen are visible within it. In this picture, these structures are visible as a subtle marbling effect across the galaxy's bright centre.
The full resolution image weighs 2.4 MB, so please be patient when downloading!
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

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