Spiral galaxies make up about 70 percent of all observed galaxies, some with large central bulges and tightly wound spiral arms like a fast-spinning ice skater, some with more wide-open arms and smaller bulges and some in various in-between states. NGC 2008, seen here in an image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, is an Sc galaxy, with S signifying its spiral form and c indicating a small central bulge. The galaxy, located about 425 million miles from Earth in the constellation Pictor, was discovered in 1834 by astronomer John Herschel.
Astronomers at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, have discovered an unusually shaped structure in two nearby disc galaxies. The Swinburne team recently developed new imaging software, making it possible to observe the double “peanut shell shape” formed by the distribution of stars bulging from the centres of these galaxies.
NASA has successfully installed the first of 18 flight mirrors onto the James Webb Space Telescope — the successor to Hubble — beginning a critical piece of the observatory’s construction. Targeted for launch in 2018, the telescope’s 18 primary mirror segments will work together as one large 21.3-foot (6.5-metre) mirror.