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Sep 26 2015, 2:28pm CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr, in News | Latest Science News

ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast); Credit: Robert Gendler

The Hubble Telescope delivers a view at a "soft" almost woolly kind of galaxy.

The NASA Hubble Telescope delivered already many stunning images from space. This time space fans get a view at a galaxy that appears soft and cuddly. The new image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 from the NASA and ESA Hubble Space Telescope is not out of focus. ESA scientists say that the galaxy itself has a soft, woolly appearance as it a member of a class of galaxies known as flocculent spirals.

ESA continues: "Like other flocculent galaxies, NGC 3521 lacks the clearly defined, arcing structure to its spiral arms that shows up in galaxies such as Messier 101, which are called grand design spirals. In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their disks. Sometimes the tufts of stars are arranged in a generally spiraling form, as with NGC 3521, but illuminated star-filled regions can also appear as short or discontinuous spiral arms."

30% of galaxies have the NGC 3521's patchiness. About 10% of galaxies have their star-forming regions wound into grand design spirals.

The NGC 3521 galaxy is located almost 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The British astronomer William Herschel discovered the object in 1784.

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