Astral Imaging at Dogwood Ridge Observatory

Latitude: 3748'51.0" N"
Scottsville, Virginia 24590

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Galaxies come in a variety of categories. In the early days of astronomy many galaxies were determined to be nebula because the smallish telescopes could not distinguish the massive number of individual stars located in the galaxy. Most common galaxies are spiral, elliptical, lenticular and irregular. All galaxies consist of large star systems and interstellar matter. These galaxies typically contain several million to trillions of stars as well as star clusters and nebulae. The various galaxy categories are listed below.

Spiral This is the type of our own home galaxy, The Milky Way. They usually consist of two major components, a large flat disk containing lots of interstellar matter and young open star clusters often arranged in the classic spiral pattern. Some will have a bar structure.
Elliptical These are ellipsoidal in shape with smooth disks. Stellar formation since long ago stopped due to the interstellar matter being used up. They consist of mainly of old population II stars.
Lenticular These are spiral galaxies without the spiral structure. They have smooth disks where stellar formation ceased long ago due to interstellar matter being used up. They contain mostly old population II stars. Observing these are often hard to define from elliptical galaxies.
Irregular Their shape is mainly due to distortion by gravitation of their intergalactic neighbors. They do not fit into into the scheme of disks and ellipsoids but rather exhibit peculiar shapes.
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  Last Modified :01/23/09 12:40 AM