Elliptical elegance

Elliptical elegance

This deep image of the celestial region around the elliptical galaxy NGC 5018 offers a breathtaking view of the thin streams of stars and gas. Delicate features indicate signs of galactic contact and provide vital information about the structure and dynamics of early galaxies.

The image shows a huge variety of bright galaxies, imprinted VST. This is a 2-6-meter mechanism designed for shooting the sky in visible light. Features scattered galaxies allow scientists to identify the finest details of the galactic structure.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is capable of studying extremely weak astronomical objects in detail. But scientists want to understand how a huge galactic diversity arises, so they are forced to turn to another type of telescope with a large field of view. This is a VLT Survey (VST). It was created to explore vast stretches of pristine Chilean sky, offering detailed astronomical studies of the southern hemisphere.

The powerful geodesic properties of the VST led to an early-type exploration (VEGAS) to study the collection of elliptical galaxies in the southern hemisphere. With the help of a sensitive detector, OmegaCAM managed to get a snapshot of various galaxies in a different environment. One of these was NGC 5018, a milky white galaxy near the center of the frame. She lives in the territory of the Virgin and at first resembles a scattered blot. A closer examination reveals a weak stream of stars and gas — a tidal tail extending outward from an elliptical galaxy. Subtle galactic features, like tidal tails and stellar flows, are important signs of galactic contacts and make it possible to understand their structure and dynamics.

In addition to the 400-megapixel galaxy, there are colorful variations of bright foreground stars in the Milky Way. These star trespassers, such as bright blue HD 114746 (closer to the center), are not considered objects of this astronomical portrait, but they are located between the Earth and the distant galaxies under study. Less visible are the traces left by the asteroids of the solar system. Just below NGC 5018, a weak band is shown made by the asteroid 2001 TJ21 (110423) captured by several consecutive observations. On the right is another asteroid - 2000 WU69 (98603) (left track).

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