Messier Monday: The Most Perfect Elliptical, M89 (Synopsis)

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.” -Blaise Pascal

By now, you've probably learned that Messier objects -- and galaxies in particular -- come in a huge, rich variety of types, structures and compositions. But sometimes, the simplest structure of all is the rarest.

Image credit: © 2006 — 2012 by Siegfried Kohlert, with M89 (left) and M90 (right) together, via http://www.astroimages.de/en/gallery/M89.html. Image credit: © 2006 — 2012 by Siegfried Kohlert, with M89 (left) and M90 (right) together, via http://www.astroimages.de/en/gallery/M89.html.

Think about it: most galaxies are classified as spirals, ellipticals or irregulars. But when was the last time you heard of a spherical galaxy? Never? That's because there are so few, they're just classified as an oddball among ellipticals. Well, that's exactly what the deal is with Messier 89!

Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble Space Telescope, via Wikisky. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble Space Telescope, via Wikisky.

Go read the whole story -- historical, physical and pictorial -- of this fantastic and unique object!

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