Do You Know What a Lenticular Galaxy Is?
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently captured a stunning image of the lenticular galaxy NGC 3489. Lenticular galaxies, which occupy a unique middle ground between spiral and elliptical galaxies, possess a central bulge of densely packed stars and a flat, circular disk containing stars, gas, and dust—resembling spiral galaxies but lacking their distinctive arms. Similar to elliptical galaxies, lenticular galaxies feature older star populations and limited ongoing star formation.
What sets NGC 3489 apart is its active galactic nucleus (AGN), positioned at the galaxy’s core. This AGN shines brilliantly and emits radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum as it engulfs nearby matter. NGC 3489 is classified as a Seyfert galaxy, a type of AGN that is relatively dim compared to others, allowing the surrounding galaxy to remain visible. In contrast, some AGNs emit such intense radiation that it obscures the host galaxy.
Located approximately 30 million light-years away in the Leo constellation, NGC 3489 provides a fascinating glimpse into the intricate and dynamic nature of galaxies in our universe.