Weekly Psalm 19: The Needle Galaxy

Here is your weekly reminder of Psalm 19 — the Needle Galaxy.

This galaxy, also known by its catalog name, NGC 4565, is about as fine an example of an edge-on spiral galaxy as you’ll ever see. If the Milky Way were to be seen at the same distance of 43 million light-years and on its edge, it would look very much like this.

Edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4565, also known as the Needle Galaxy. Credit: Bruce Hugo and Leslie Gaul/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF.

The puffy part in the center is the bulge of the galaxy and the extended part is the disk. The dark strip running the length of the galaxy is a dust lane. Dust typically makes up about 10% of the gaseous stuff between the stars in the disk of a spiral galaxy, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to block a lot of the intense starlight coming from the galaxy.