A Transformation in Virgo

The NGC 4388 galaxy experiences the effects of gravitational interactions

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Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

NGC 4388, a galaxy located 60 million light-years away from Earth lies in the Virgo Cluster– a cluster of 1300-2000 galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. The blue lanes and specks in the spiral galaxy are actually new stars.

The galaxy has an unusual combination of two features–smooth outskirts which is typical of an elliptical galaxy and two symmetric spiral arms, typical of a spiral galaxy. These unusual combinations may be due to gravitational interactions with the galaxy-rich Virgo Cluster.