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From galaxies that are shaped weirdly, to ones that have unique properties, join me as I show you the strangest galaxies in the universe!
9. ESO 137-001
I want you to think about the “shapes” of universes. Depending on the pictures you look at, you likely think of things like the spirals that many galaxies are believed to be shaped as. But in the case of ESO 137-001, that isn’t exactly the case. Because this galaxy…is shaped like a Jellyfish.
No, really, the spiral form of the galaxy is still there. BUT, it also has a “tail” that is formed by stars that are in its “wake” if you will, and it’s quite a tail as it extends over 260,000 light years into space!
8. NGC 1052-DF2
Ok, this one was weird in context as I’ll explain. You see, in 2018, the Hubble Space Telescope (one of the most important pieces of technology we have in terms of mapping space) found a galaxy known as NGC 1052-DF2. When scientists and astronomers looked at the galaxy though, they felt that something was missing. Mainly, there was a lack of Dark Matter, and that should’ve been impossible.
“Dark matter is conventionally believed to be an integral part of all galaxies — the glue that holds them together and the underlying scaffolding upon which they are built,” explains co-author Allison Merritt from Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany.
7. MACS 2129-1
The place known as MACS 2129-1 is definitely a galaxy that stands out for a whole host of reasons. Not the least of which is because it’s what’s known as a “No life Galaxy”. To be clear, there is life in the form of stars and planets within it, that’s not the issue. But, the galaxy is no longer “active”, meaning that it’s not making anymore stars despite it being over 10 billion years old.
6. The Andromeda galaxy
Arguably the most famous galaxy in the universe outside the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy is one that has led many people to wonder what is just outside our own galaxy, mainly because it’s our neighbor. Not just that, it’s our largest neighbor by a wide margin, and there’s a very good reason for that. Mainly, the Andromeda Galaxy is known as a “cannibal galaxy”.
What does that mean? Well, as the title describes, it actually collides with and devours other galaxies in order to make itself bigger:
“Andromeda has a much bigger and more complex stellar halo than the Milky Way, which indicates that it has cannibalized many more galaxies, possibly larger ones,” lead study author Dougal Mackey, an astronomer at Australian National University, said in a statement. “Knowing what kind of a monster our galaxy is up against is useful in finding out the Milky Way’s ultimate fate.”
So, remember the Jellyfish Galaxy we talked about a little while ago? Well, meet its cousin, the Tadpole Galaxy. This one is very on the nose in terms of its name because of the fact that it has a LONG tail that is attached to a body that reminds scientists of a tadpole. So looking at this you may wonder, “How did this happen?” According to the ones who found it, it’s a remnant of sorts from a galaxy that collided with another.
If this list has shown you anything so far, it’s that the state of our universe is very much in a state of flux. But what you might not realize is that while some galaxies do collide with each other, others go and just steal things from one another. They alter shapes, steal stars, and sometimes even become brighter. Which is the case with W2246-0526:
3. Little Cub
Found in the Ursa Major Constellation, there is a dwarf galaxy known fondly as the “Little Cub”, and it’s one that has scientists very curious despite its impending doom. Why is that? Because the “Little Cub” as it is known is a galaxy that is dormant, and it has remained unchanged for about 13.7 billion years. If you know the alleged history of the universe, that would mean that it has been the same since the beginning of the universe more or less.
2. The Petal Galaxy
Let’s dig back into the visuals of galaxies for a bit. There are many galaxies out there in the universe that are growing at various rates as we’ve shown. But ESO 381-12 is different. Not only is this one growing, it’s growing in a way and in a shape that is truly baffling scientists. How so? Well, it looks like a flower in bloom, and the “petals” as they are known aren’t symmetrical.
1. Messier 83
15 million light years away in the Hydra is the galaxy known as Messier 83, and it is a galaxy that has caught a lot of people’s eyes. Mainly because those who have looked at it noticed that it has “two hearts”:
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