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Spiral Galaxy in Abell 496
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Spiral Galaxy in Abell 496

May 19, 2005
The cluster Abell 496 is noteworthy for its broad range of galaxy types, which include virtually all morphological sub-types known. Among the brighter cluster members, elliptical galaxies are the most numerous.

In addition, there are many spiral galaxies. They are similar to the Milky Way Galaxy in which we live. However, the large majority are dwarf galaxies, each of which still weighs 109 to 1010 solar masses. They are often concentrated in the vicinity of the more massive cluster members (46h/99 ), with which they may eventually merge in the course of hundreds of millions to several billions of years.

Galaxy clusters like Abell 496 also contain very hot gas (about 1 million deg), but of such a low density that it is invisible in optical light; it is only detectable by its X-ray radiation. The massive central galaxy in Abell 496 accretes some of this gas at the unusually high rate of well over 100 solar masses per year. On time scales of millions to billions of years, this gas is then transformed into new stars.