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Snuggle Up With A Fluffy Galaxy

by / Thursday, 11 August 2011 / Published in Blog - Space Log

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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.

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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.

 

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