Lenticular (S0) Galaxies
Click icon to see a lenticular galaxy of Messier's catalog
The icon shows the M102 candidate
NGC 5866, the Spindle Galaxy.
The lenticular galaxies are disk galaxies without any conspicuous structure
in their disks. This is probably because they have either used up most of
their interstellar matter, so that they consist of old stars only, which
have found a smooth and even distribution in the disk by the time, or because
the galaxy has not closely encountered any neighbor in the past few hundred
million (or few billion) years.
From their appearance, and also their stellar contents (e.g., spectral type),
they look more like ellipticals rather than spirals, and have often been
misclassified due to this fact. Misclassification has e.g. occurred for all
3 or 4 Messier lenticulars.
(Probable) S0 galaxies in Messier's catalog:
NGC 5866 (M102 ?).
Last Modification: 25 Jan 1998, 16:10 MET