Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: NASA has released an image received from its Hubble telescope, which shows elliptical galaxy NGC 3610, located 70 million light-years away.
NGC 3610, also known as LEDA 34566 or UGC 6319, is a peculiar lenticular galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major and was first discovered by the English astronomer William Herschel on April 8, 1793.
NASA further spotted a wealth of other galaxies of all shapes surrounding the galaxy. There are spiral galaxies, galaxies with a bar in their central regions, distorted galaxies and elliptical galaxies, all visible in the background. In fact, almost every bright dot in this image is a galaxy — the few foreground stars are clearly distinguishable due to the diffraction spikes that overlay their images.
According to NASA, the reason for the peculiar shape of NGC 3610 stems from its formation history. When galaxies form, they usually resemble our galaxy, the Milky Way, with flat discs and spiral arms where star formation rates are high and which are therefore very bright. An elliptical galaxy is a much more disordered object which results from the merging of two or more disc galaxies. During these violent mergers most of the internal structure of the original galaxies is destroyed. The fact that NGC 3610 still shows some structure in the form of a bright disc implies that it formed only a short time ago. The galaxy’s age has been put at around four billion years and it is an important object for studying the early stages of evolution in elliptical galaxies.