Spiralling arms, a glowing centre, bright specks of star formation and dark ripples of cosmic dust – it must be a galaxy.
A spiral galaxy, in fact, named NGC 772. And according to the European Space Agency, it has quite a bit in common with our own Milky Way. Both, for example, boast a few small satellite galaxies, which closely orbit and are gravitationally bound to their parent galaxies.
There are some differences, however.
For one, NGC 772 is both a peculiar and an unbarred spiral galaxy; this means that it is somewhat odd in size, shape or composition, and that it lacks a central feature known as a bar, which we see in many galaxies throughout the cosmos.
These bars, built of gas and stars, are thought to funnel and transport material through the galactic core, possibly fuelling and igniting various processes such as star formation.