The Hubble Space Telescope has given us some of the most iconic images of space. He has seen many galaxies, and recently took photos of interesting spiral galaxies, about 60 million light-years from us. He looked to the galaxy-oriented side, and took a profile picture, which is not something we often see.
The European Space Agency (ESA) posted the photo as Picture of the Week last week, and it shows a spiral galaxy called NGC 3717. As I mentioned, it is located about 60 million light years from Earth, in the constellation of Hydra (Sea Snake).
"NGC 3717 is not perfectly captured edge-on in this picture; the part near the galaxy is tilted slightly downward, and the far side is tilted. This angle gives the appearance of the disc and the center ridge (which is only one side visible). "
"Through most of its expanse, spiral galaxies are shaped like thin pancakes," ESA wrote. "In essence, they have bright, rounded, full-featured protrusions that extend above and below this disc, giving the shape of these galaxies somewhat like flying saucers when they are seen [edge-on]. "This photo shows us spiral galaxies almost in profile, and that can give a clear impression of three-dimensional shapes.[viaSciTechDaily;[viaSciTechDaily;[viaSciTechDaily;[viaSciTechDaily;Image credit: ESA / Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario]