Snuggle Up With A Fluffy Galaxy
Teddy bears, warm towels fresh from the dryer, a new puppy…what do all these things have in common? You could say that each is fluffy. But did you know that a galaxy can be considered fluffy too? 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo is a spiral galaxy called NGC 3521. It is called a flocculent spiral galaxy because its spiral arms have a “patchy, woolly look.” According to Webster’s Dictionary, flocculent means something is like wool tufts, or fluffy.
The most recent image of this galaxy was taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, which is located in Chile. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a very large telescope. If you have a small telescope, you can probably spot this galaxy pretty easily. Just don’t try to give it a hug! It might be fluffy but it won’t make a very good stuffed animal.