Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 6, 1996

Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy M32
Credit: 1.1-Metre Hall Telescope, Lowell Observatory, Bill Keel (U. Alabama)

Explanation: Being the largest galaxy around can sometimes make you popular. Pictured is M31's companion galaxy M32. M31, the Andromeda galaxy, is the largest galaxy in our Local Group of galaxies - even our tremendous Milky Way Galaxy is smaller. Little M32 is visible in most pictures of M31 - it is the small circular spot north of M31's centre. M32 is a dwarf elliptical galaxy. Elliptical galaxies have little or no measurable gas or dust - they are composed completely of stars and typically appear more red than spiral galaxies. Elliptical galaxies do not have disks - they generally have oblong shapes and therefore show elliptical profiles on the sky.

Tomorrow's picture: Mercury Astronauts and a Redstone

< Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.