Illustration for article titled When Is a Spiral Galaxy Just a Disc? When Its Viewed From the Side.

The Hubble Space Telescope shows us the edge-view of galaxy NGC 5023. Even though NGC 5023 is a spiral galaxy, its orientation to the Hubble means that we can't see its arms, only a side view which shows us a disk.


Image credit: ESA/NASA

NGC 5023 is located over 30 million light years away and can stand out in an image like this because it is situated apart from the other galaxies in its cluster. The way it's situated — so that we see its edge — allows researchers to study its "vertical distribution and find a trend which suggests that heating of the disc plays an important role in producing the stars seen away from the plane of the galaxy."


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