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The Abell 1060 cluster of galaxies

Date created: 1984-03-01

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This beautiful, compact cluster of galaxies is in the winding southern constellation of Hydra, and most of the galaxies are together in space at a distance of about 700 million light years. The group is also known as the Hydra cluster and its most prominent galaxies are also catalogued as NGC 3309 and NGC 3311 (ellipticals), while the prominent, edge-on spiral is NGC 3312.

Groups of galaxies are common and often have mixed populations, with the fuzzy elliptical galaxies being more numerous than the structured spirals, as here. More numerous still in clusters are the dwarf elliptical galaxies, seen as faint, fuzzy patches of light. They are composed of millions of stars rather than the billions found in the handful of giant ellipticals in this picture.

Image derived from an AAT plate taken in red light.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory