Why does this galaxy spin so fast? 

To start, what kind of galaxy is this? It’s hard to tell.. It has dark dust lanes like a spiral galaxy but a large diffuse bulge of stars like a lenticular galaxy. 

Surprising observations show that UGC 12591 spins at about 480 km/sec, almost twice as fast as our Milky Way- the fastest rotation rate yet measured! The mass needed in order to hold a galaxy together that is spinning this fast is several times the mass of our Milky Way. Scenarios as to why this is happening with UGC 12591 include slow growth by accrediting ambient matter, or rapid growth through a recent galaxy collision or collisions. Future observations may be able to help us tell. 

The light we see today from UGC 12591 left about 400 million years ago, when trees were first developing on Earth!

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble


Clouds pour over Lion’s Head, South Africa


Lenticular Cloud and Aurora all at once


Sunrise illuminates lenticular clouds over Torres Del Paine National Park