The dwarf elliptical galaxy Messier 110 may not look like much, but our near neighbor is an unusual example of its type. M110 is a member of the Local Group, the gathering of galaxies that includes the Milky Way and the galaxies closest to it. Messier 110 is one of the small satellite galaxies circling the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest major galaxy. Elliptical galaxies have smooth and almost featureless structures lacking arms and notable pockets of star formation.
Because they lack stellar nurseries and contain mostly old stars, elliptical galaxies are often considered “dead” when compared to their spiral relatives. However, astronomers have spotted signs of a population of young, blue stars at the center of Messier 110; it may not be “dead” yet.
Image Credit: NASA / ESA