Hubble, the ground-breaking space telescope that’s been in orbit since 1990, has captured an incredible image of a fascinating “not-so-dead” galaxy neighboring our own.
Messier 110 is a member of the ‘Local Group’ – the name given to the collection of about 50 galaxies, including the Milky Way and several others close to it. It’s known as a ‘dwarf elliptical galaxy’ because of its smooth and almost featureless structure, according to NASA.
Dwarf elliptical galaxies are normally considered ‘dead’ because they lack star formation and usually contain mostly old stars. However, it might not be game over for Messier 110 just yet: astronomers have found signs of a population of young, blue stars at its center, potentially lending the galaxy a new lease of life.
Hubble is set to be replaced in 2021 by a state-of-the-art successor called the James Webb Space Telescope, which will take on the remit of studying the formation of stars and galaxies, as well as searching for signs of life on other planets. However, the new $9.7 billion device being developed by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency has been plagued by delays and cost overruns since it was announced in 2009.
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