According to scientists, our universe is composed of billions of other galaxies bearing similarities to our very own Milky Way. However, these galaxies take different shapes and sizes. Basically, there are three types of galaxies; Spiral, Elliptical and Irregular. However, these three outlined galaxy shapes types are further divided into numerous subtypes such as those you never believed existed. In this galaxy shapes worksheet, we have collated the top 10 galaxy shapes that we are certain would go a long way to solving the mystery behind galaxy shapes.
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10. Irregular Galaxies (Irr I)
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Generally, irregular galaxy shapes are just unique. Irr I galaxies have some structure but they do not have any specific shape to fit into Edward Hubble’s galaxy shapes worksheet. Neither do they have any clear nucleus. Irregular Galaxies fall into different subtypes and one of these is Irr I. One of the features of Irr I is that they have lots of dust, gas, young stars and does not have spiral arms. One example of an Irr I galaxy is the Small Magellanic Cloud. Going further on our galaxy shapes worksheet, Irr I galaxies are further divided into Sm galaxies, which are subtypes with some spiral structure, and Im galaxies, which are completely devoid of spiral structure.
9. Irregular Galaxies (Irr II)
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One mystery behind galaxy shapes has been the basis behind the classification of some irregular galaxies as Irr II galaxies given the existence of peculiar galaxies. Irr II galaxies are completely strange without any clear shape or size and scientists have opined that their shape is the result of collision with other galaxies at a point in their history.
8. dI-Galaxies (dIrrs)
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Also known as dwarf irregular galaxies, astronomers believe these are the earliest galaxies to populate the universe. They also believe that by unraveling the mystery behind galaxy shapes of dwarf galaxies they may be one step closer to understanding the formation of the universe.
7. Edge-On Spiral Galaxy
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Now we undo another mystery behind galaxy shapes by taking a look at what we classify as spiral galaxies. Spiral galaxies are named so because of their shape – looking like spirals with winding long arms directed to a bulge located at the center. Now where do Edge-on spiral galaxies come in on our galaxy shapes worksheet? First, an ‘edge-on spiral’ galaxy is one in which the galaxy can be seen from the side. You can also see the very bright central bulges. The only difference with a face-on spiral is the angle in which you see it. Our Milky Way is a typical spiral galaxy.
6. Face-on Spiral Galaxy
Image credit: Hubble space telescope
We have already undone one aspect of the mystery behind galaxy shapes to wit, edge-on spiral galaxies. Now we look at the face-on spiral galaxy. Really the face-on galaxy is no different from the edge-on galaxy apart from the angle in which it is seen. Face-on spirals occur when you can see the spiral shape face-on. Now face-on spirals are of two kinds and we would explain them in our galaxy shapes worksheet. The first kind of face-on galaxy is a loosely-wound face-on galaxy. It is named as such because of the loosely wound arms of the galaxy. The other type is the tightly-wound face-on galaxy. This also applies to edge-on galaxies. Thanks to research when compiling our galaxy shapes worksheet, most, more than 77% of the galaxies so far uncovered are spiral galaxies.
5. Barred Spiral Galaxy
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Barred spiral galaxies are simply galaxy shapes that have a bright bar or line running across them. Any spiral galaxy without a bar are simply called spiral galaxies.
4. Elliptical Galaxies
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Elliptical galaxies are galaxies that have a near about ellipsoidal shape with nearly featureless brightness. Elliptical galaxies are more three dimensional and lack in a lot of structure. Elliptical galaxies range in sizes from almost spherical to very flat.
3. Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies
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Dwarf elliptical galaxies really do not have any real mystery attached to them apart from being small elliptical galaxies. The smallest dwarf elliptical galaxies are less than a tenth of the current size of the Milky Way in which we live in.
2. Peculiar Galaxies
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Peculiar galaxies do not fit into the defined categories for normal galaxies. Peculiar galaxies are of two types. The first is interacting galaxies named so, as the structure of those galaxies has been affected by neighboring galaxies gravitational interaction.
1. Lenticular Galaxy
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A lenticular galaxy comes in as a mid-way of spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies. Lenticular galaxies are disc-shaped galaxies that have either lost or made use of all their interstellar matter thereby reducing their ongoing star formation.
Thanks for going through our galaxy shapes worksheet that is aimed at solving the mystery behind galaxy shapes that you would never have believed exist. We hope to hear from you.