BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Eye on the sky

Blue stars glitter on the feathery arms of a flocculent galaxy



The fluffy spiral arms and the curiously large empty region at its heart are the signs of a sleepy galaxy in repose. NGC 2775, located 67 million lightyears away in the constellat­ion of Cancer, has its furious period of star production long behind it, leaving a vacant centre where its concentrat­ed reserves of gas were converted to stars long ago. The woolly, ill-defined spiral arms, across which are scattered millions of blue stars, are what give ‘flocculent’ type galaxies their name; in contrast to the distinct, continuous arms of grand design spirals.

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