Have you ever gazed up at the sky and wondered what lies beyond our world? Thanks to the amazing imaging technology of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, we can now explore galaxies far away from our own. One such galaxy, NGC 6684, is a lenticular galaxy located 44 million light-years away in the constellation Pavo.
Lenticular galaxies, like NGC 6684, have a distinct shape that sets them apart from other galaxies. These ghostly galaxies look like a lens when viewed from the side, with a large disk but no spiral arms. They are classified as being between elliptical and spiral galaxies, and they lack the dark dust lanes that can be seen in other galactic forms. When viewed through Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, this lenticular galaxy’s pale light bathes the image in an ethereal glow.
Hubble is currently undertaking a census of all nearby galaxies known within 10 Megaparsecs (32.6 million light-years). Before this project began, Hubble had already observed roughly 75% of these galaxies. By completing this survey, scientists hope to gain new insights into the stars that inhabit these galaxies and their various environments. It is amazing to think that such a faraway galaxy can be studied and explored with such detail and accuracy thanks to our current technology.
For astronomers, NGC 6684 offers an incredible opportunity to observe a distant and unique galaxy in detail. But for everyone else, it serves as an awe-inspiring reminder of just how vast and mysterious our universe truly is. Even with all the knowledge that we have acquired in recent years, there is still so much to learn about the stars and galaxies that exist beyond our own.