Elliptical Galaxies

Ellipticals are actually the most numerous type of galaxy. They show no trace of spiral arms; they are instead spherical or ellipsoidal, and resemble the nucleus and halo parts alone of spiral galaxies.

It is thought ellipticals contain only old stars - star formation in these galaxies has come to a virtual halt. The major difference between ellipticals and spirals may be that ellipticals are rotating much more slowly, and therefore have not flattened out into a disk, and a much greater percentage of the gas they contain has condensed into stars (Abell, p. 610).

Ellipticals range from dwarfs much smaller than the smallest spirals, as small as 5,000 light years across, to the rare giant ellipticals like M 87, several hundred-thousand light years across, larger than any spiral.
Click on a thumbnail image to see it full size.

M32, NGC 221

M84, NGC 4374

M85, NGC 4382

M86, NGC 4406

M105, NGC 3379

M110, NGC 205

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Last updated on 11-02-99.
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