Insight Into: Galaxy Variety

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We can classify galaxies into type -- spirals, ellipticals, irregulars -- based on their characteristics. 


Galaxy Structure
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
·       NGC 6822 image courtesy of the Local Group Galaxies Survey Team/NOAO/AURA/NSF
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       NGC 4565 image courtesy of the European Southern Observatory
·       Small Magellanic Cloud image courtesy of F. Winkler/Middlebury College, the MCELS Team, and NOAO/AURA/NSF
Written by Vanessa Thomas
Designed by John Godfrey 
Music courtesy of Association Production Music


A multitude of galaxies in space.
Text, The universe is filled with snowflakes.
Not the frozen-water-falling-from-the-sky kind, but the kind made of stars, gas, and dust -- galaxies.
Like snowflakes on Earth, no two galaxies in space are exactly alike.
A sliding square puzzle with a galaxy on each square.
Text, We can classify galaxies into type -- spirals, ellipticals, irregulars -- based on their characteristics. SPIRAL GALAXIES. ELLIPTICAL GALAXIES. IRREGULAR GALAXIES.
Spiral galaxies have winding arms of gas and dust, similar to the blades of pinwheels.
Elliptical galaxies, the most common type of galaxy in our universe, range from circular to elongated, contain older stars, and smaller portions of gas and dust.
Irregular galaxies, which are abundant in the early universe, lack any defined shapes.
Interestingly, according to how these galaxies form, two galaxies of the same type may have different features that give each galaxy their own identity.