A Beautiful Glimpse Of A Galaxy Seen From The Edge

A shot of NGC 1055, showing the galaxy from an edge-on perspective. ESO

Looking out into the universe from Earth, you’re bound to see spiral galaxies from all kinds of angles and orientations, but it’s not very often you can catch a glimpse of them from this perspective.

ESO's Very Large Telescope (certainly the best-named telescope of all time) in Chile has snapped up this image of a spiral galaxy known as NGC 1055 from the side, like seeing a disk edge-on to the line of sight. The galaxy is thought to be around 15 percent larger in diameter than our own Milky Way and was found 55 million light-years away in the constellation of Cetus, named after the sea monster in Greek mythology.

Not only does this it make for some incredible eye candy, it's also helping astronomers understand the three-dimensional structure of galaxies and vital clues to its history. The galaxy is slightly warped and twisted, showing a minor bend across the core, most likely due to interactions with the nearby galaxy, Messier 77. It also provides an insight into heights of the disk-like galaxy and a view of how different stars are distributed throughout the galaxy.

If you fancy seeing a full high-version (perfect for a laptop background) then click here.

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