The CARTWHEEL GALAXY is a lenticular and ring galaxy. It is located about 500 million light years away in the Sculptor constellation. A lenticular galaxy is a classification of galaxy that’s between an elliptical galaxy and a spiral galaxy. It is slightly larger than the Milky Way.

At one time, the Cartwheel Galaxy was a normal spiral galaxy. This changed when it underwent a head on collision with a smaller galaxy (possibly one of the ones pictured above). This collision created so much force that when the smaller galaxy moved through the Cartwheel Galaxy, it created a shock wave. This shock wave moved all of the dust and gas into the ring-like appearance that we see today. As time passes, it is starting to reform into the spiral galaxy that it once was.

Stars formed in galaxies like this one, are very large and bright. When these massive stars come to the end of their lives, they explode as supernovas and leave behind neutron stars and/or black holes. These neutron stars are powerful sources of X-rays.

Got any questions/facts about the Grand Spiral Galaxy? Send me a message and we can talk about it!


‘A Starry Twilight’ - Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey by Kris Williams
Via Flickr:
The milky way and starry night-sky shot from Ynys Llanddwyn on Anglesey during nautical twilight, shortly before the clouds rolled in for the night before full darkness.