Cool image time! The picture to the right has been significantly reduced but also significantly sharpened to post here. It was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as part of a recent survey of “jellyfish” galaxies, galaxies located in galaxy clusters where there is a large concentration of galaxies whose combined gravity and intergalactic environment acts to pull material or “tendrils” out from the galaxy.
Rather than crop the image to focus on that single large central jellyfish galaxy, I have instead sharpened the much-reduced full photo to bring out clearly the number of surrounding galaxies. There is only one Milky Way star in this picture, the object with the four diffraction spikes in the lower-right. Every other dot is a galaxy, many of which can be seen to be very strangely shaped in the original full resolution image. In fact, I strongly recommend you click on the picture to explore that original image, just to see the variety of galaxy shapes.
The point of this picture today however is not to illustrate the wide variety of galaxies that can exist, but to underline the vast and largely incomprehensible scale of the universe….
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