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A shapely galaxy
July 25, 2009 11:42 PM   Subscribe

There are many galaxies. The Sombrero Galaxy. The Whirlpool Galaxy. Lenticular galaxies. The occasional irregular galaxy. What types of galaxies do we find in the universe?
posted by twoleftfeet (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A galaxy cluster lens.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:31 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh. So this isn't about Super Mario, then.
posted by nzero at 1:00 AM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pictures of galaxies are always fun. At least until I start to think about the dimensions of what I am looking at... the scales... the time... the complete, swallowing vastness...


Then my brain leaks out of my head and I want to go for ice cream.
posted by dopamine at 1:23 AM on July 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I just got back from an observing night with the local astronomy club. We looked at the whirlpool galaxy with a 12" truss-tube dobsonian. It was pretty sweet.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:38 AM on July 26, 2009


Of all the oddly named galaxies, the cigar galaxy probably has the most uncomfortable name. Especially when we consider the almost total ban on smoking in this galaxy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:05 AM on July 26, 2009


I thought it was just this one and the cowboy universe.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:41 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least until I start to think about the dimensions of what I am looking at... the scales... the time... the complete, swallowing vastness...

I own a 10-inch reflector telescope and I've had this sensation looking at them in the eyepiece. The distances are just phenomenal. Did you ever take an airplane flight back in 1987? If that plane had turned toward the sun and kept flying at its same speed, it would only now be getting to the sun. Now multiply that by 65700 to get a light year, and multiply that by 100 million to get to one of those galaxies.

I do recall several years ago there was one galaxy I was looking at one night (M106? I'd have to go back through my notes) and had the vague impression something was looking back at me. One of those Lovecraftian moments.
posted by crapmatic at 4:43 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ford Galaxy
posted by rfs at 6:15 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now multiply that by 65700 to get a light year, and multiply that by 100 million to get to one of those galaxies.

Therefore, unless some advanced extragalactic civilisation somehow learned to create and control the location of wormholes, Uncle Festus did not get abducted by aliens.
posted by bwg at 6:22 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Therefore, unless some advanced extragalactic civilisation somehow learned to create and control the location of wormholes, Uncle Festus did not get abducted by aliens.

Doesn't follow. There could just as easily be advanced intragalactic civilizations. Uncle Festus' case remains unsolved.
posted by invitapriore at 7:06 AM on July 26, 2009


For those of you so inclined, I highly recommend participating at Galaxy Zoo. [previously-er]
posted by elfgirl at 7:32 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Galaxie 500
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:37 AM on July 26, 2009


NGC 1097: the Eye of Sauron
posted by casarkos at 7:50 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always wonder if humans would have created an Equus-like religion if the Horsehead Nebula was visible in the night sky.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:47 AM on July 26, 2009


Spiral galaxies make up about three-quarters of all bright galaxies and are classified according to how large their central stellar bulges are

The Jim Morrison Galaxy.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:51 AM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


the milky way is actually a barred spiral...they were able to figure that out because barred spirals are a little 'square' in the middle when seen edge on...also some barred spirals have multiple bars, with a smaller bar nested in the central bulge of the larger bar
posted by sexyrobot at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2009


posted by twoleftfeet What types of galaxies do we find in the universe?

12. All of which are quasi-tetraflouridic multiplitudinal Zegnatronic.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:09 PM on July 26, 2009


There could just as easily be advanced intragalactic civilizations. Uncle Festus' case remains unsolved.

Whether inside or outside our galaxy, wormhole theory is one of the few methods to jump to a far spot in space without having to invent faster than light travel.

Because the Milky Way itself is frickin' massive.
posted by bwg at 4:22 PM on July 26, 2009


wormhole theory is one of the few methods to jump to a far spot in space

There's no reason to assume other-worldly beings would experience time the way we do, or that their lifespans would be within the same range as ours. They might use generation ships, some sort of hibernation or simply read a good book while flying between planets / solar systems / galaxies.
posted by signal at 5:50 PM on July 26, 2009


Thank you, twoleftfeet.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:06 PM on July 26, 2009


There's no reason to assume other-worldly beings would experience time the way we do, or that their lifespans would be within the same range as ours.

Perhaps, but you're talking about a different concept. I was specifically talking about jumping.

And it's not about time/lifespan, it's about the idea that faster than light travel is generally not possible under the Special Theory of Relativity, ie. "a particle (that has mass) with subluminal velocity needs infinite energy to accelerate to the speed of light."

My point was that warping or distorting regions of space would be an easier way to allow craft to travel vast distances at sublimunal speeds, obviating the need for FTL technology.

Even so, I find it difficult to believe alien cultures would go to the trouble of inventing controllable wormholes (or hibernation or whatnot), choose our atomic sized needle from the haystack of the universe, then jump to our coordinates so they could snatch some rural farmer from his pickup truck.
posted by bwg at 10:25 PM on July 26, 2009


There could just as easily be advanced intragalactic civilizations.

This information, I assume, is based on the countless advanced intergalactic civilizations already known. ;-)

Even so, I find it difficult to believe alien cultures would go to the trouble of inventing controllable wormholes (or hibernation or whatnot), choose our atomic sized needle from the haystack of the universe, then jump to our coordinates so they could snatch some rural farmer from his pickup truck.

Here, here! If advanced civilizations are common why would they visit the not-so-advanced Earth, a lot of traveling for a little sweet corn. If they aren't, then why would they visit Earth? And why haven't we discovered any? (via Fermi) Not that I truly doubt the existence of alien intelligence somewhere, but I do highly doubt that they have visited, or will visit us.

Also, thanks for the post. :-)
posted by IvoShandor at 10:37 PM on July 26, 2009


turgid dahlia: I thought it was just this one and the cowboy universe.

Yeah, Leprechaun Universe is fine if you haven't seen Pirate Universe.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:40 AM on July 27, 2009


Galaxy 500
posted by joecacti at 8:34 AM on July 27, 2009


mattdidthat: 12. All of which are quasi-tetraflouridic multiplitudinal Zegnatronic.

Is that guy still doing his thing? The one that I best remember from 10 years ago is "Impeach Clinton! 12 galaxies combining to a zegnatronic rocket society."
posted by uberfunk at 12:34 PM on July 27, 2009


The Milky Way Over Devils Tower
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on July 30, 2009


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