Astrophysics (index)about

elliptical galaxy

(ellipsoidal-shaped galaxy)

An elliptical galaxy is a galaxy with an ellipsoidal shape. It is one of three galaxy classes described by Edwin Hubble, along with spiral galaxies and lenticular galaxies. The largest galaxies are elliptical. The galaxy classification designations for elliptical galaxies are E0 through E7. The "E numbers" are based on the galaxy's observed ellipticity, i.e., one minus the ratio of the smaller observed dimension to the larger observed dimension. The E number is an integer rounding of ten times this ellipticity.

Elliptical galaxies typically have older, low-mass stars, and less interstellar gas and dust, thus have little star formation. The colloquial phrase red and dead is used to describe them, implying a low star formation rate, and the lack of blueness, which would be a sign of little star formation since recent star formation would have produced some large, hot, thus bluish, short-lived stars that would still be shining.

A very large elliptical galaxy often resides in the center of a galaxy cluster. They are termed cD galaxies, cited as meaning "central dominant", but it is also the Yerkes galaxy classification term (a subtype meaning a large D-type galaxy) for large, nebulous galaxy, meaning lenticular (rotating, but more nebulous than spiral).

At least one elliptical has been noted to have a disk-like structure within it, with the potential for some obscured star formation within.

(galaxy type)

Referenced by:
brightest cluster galaxy (BCG)
cosmic distance ladder
de Vaucouleurs' profile
disk galaxy
Faber-Jackson relation (FJR)
fundamental plane
galaxy classification
galaxy main sequence
galaxy merger
irregular galaxy
lenticular galaxy (S0)
Messier 84 (M84)
mass-to-light ratio (M/L)
Morgan classification
N galaxy
NGC 1600
surface brightness fluctuation (SBF)
submillimeter galaxy (SMG)
spiral galaxy
stellar dynamics
3C 327