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Classification Of Galaxies

There are three main types of galaxies: Elliptical, Spiral, and Irregular. Two of these three types are further divided and classified into a system that is now known the tuning fork diagram. When Hubble first created this diagram, he believed that this was an evolutionary sequence as well as a classification.

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Spiral Galaxy

Spiral galaxies form a class of galaxy originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae and, as such, form part of the Hubble sequence. Most spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge.

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Elliptical Galaxy

An elliptical galaxy is a type of galaxy having an approximately ellipsoidal shape and a smooth, nearly featureless brightness profile. Unlike flat spiral galaxies with organization and structure, they are more three-dimensional, without much structure, and their stars are in somewhat random orbits around the center.

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Irregular Galaxy

Some irregular galaxies are the result of gravitational interactions or collisions between formerly regular galaxies. Many irregular galaxies orbit larger regular ones; the Magellanic Cloud galaxies orbiting the Milky Way are examples. Compare elliptical galaxy, lenticular galaxy, spiral galaxy.

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