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NGC 4710

The magnificent galaxy NGC 4710 is tilted nearly edge on to our view from Earth. This perspective allows astronomers to easily distinguish the central bulge of stars from its pancake-flat disk of stars, dust, and gas. Like the yellow yolk on a fried egg, the central bulge extends outside of the central disk. Dark dust lanes, raw material for future generations of stars and planets, also appear confined to the central disk.

What's striking in the image is a ghostly X pattern of stars. This is due to the inclined orbits of the stars in the galaxy's central bar-like structure. Located 65 million light-years away, NGC 4710 is a member of the giant Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It can be seen as a dim, 11th magnitude, spindle-like smudge in a medium-sized amateur telescope. This natural color photo was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Credit: NASA / ESA / P. Goudfrooij (STScI)

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