An Ancient Galaxy


NGC 1277 is an oddball galaxy near the center of the Perseus cluster about 240 million light-years away. The galaxy is unique among the other 1,000 or so members of the cluster because it’s composed exclusively of aging stars that were born 10 billion years ago. This ancient relic of a galaxy is moving so fast through the cluster (almost 900 km/s) that it can’t merge with other galaxies to collect stars or pull in gas to fuel star formation. Also, the intergalactic gas is so hot NGC 1277 cannot cool to condense and form new stars.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI

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