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 8, 1996

Local Group Galaxy NGC 205
Credit: 1.1-Metre Hall Telescope, Lowell Observatory, Bill Keel (U. Alabama)

Explanation: The Milky Way Galaxy is not alone. It is part of a gathering of about 25 galaxies known as the Local Group. Members include the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31), M32, M33, the Large Magellanic Clouds, the Small Magellanic Clouds, Dwingeloo 1, several small irregular galaxies, and many dwarf elliptical galaxies. Pictured is one of the many dwarf ellipticals: NGC 205. Like M32, NGC 205 is a companion to the large M31, and can sometimes be seen to the south of M31's centre in photographs. The above image shows this galaxy to be unusual for an elliptical galaxy in that it contains at least two dust clouds (at 7 and 11 o'clock - they are visible but hard to spot) and signs of recent star formation. This galaxy is sometimes known as M110, although it was actually not part of Messier's original catalogue.

Tomorrow's picture: M100 and the Expanding Universe

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.