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Unusual Galaxies

Siamese Twins
These two spiral galaxies are commonly known as the Siamese Twins. Found in the Virgo cluster, the Siamese Twins show how gravitational pull sometimes causes two galaxies to collide or brush against each other.

Sombrero Galaxy
It?s easy to see how this spiral galaxy got its name. With a bright halo of stars and a large central bulge of stars, it looks like a hat! Like most spiral galaxies, older stars are found in the nucleus, while younger stars are found in the dust rings surrounding it. Scientists think an enormous black hole resides at the core?possibly a billion times the mass of our sun. This galaxy is 50 million light-years away, but you can see it with a small telescope near the constellation Virgo.

Polar Ring Galaxy
This galaxy, 130 million light-years away, is one example of about one hundred known polar-ring galaxies. Polar-ring galaxies contain an inner central disk of old stars and an outer ring of younger stars. Scientists are still researching what causes polar-ring galaxies, but one theory is that they result from the collision of two galaxies in the distant past.

Answers From the Expert
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Frank Summers, American Museum of Natural History
? Why are most galaxies brightest in the center?

Click here for Frank's answer.

? Why does the Sombrero galaxy have a reddish color?

Click here for Frank's answer.

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