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elliptical galaxy

noun, Astronomy
a type of galaxy having the shape of a spheroid or ellipsoid, rather than a disk.
Also called elliptical, E galaxy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for elliptical galaxy
  • They determined it was coming from an elliptical galaxy, which typically consists of older stars.
  • The truth is that the elliptical galaxy in this case is only a temporary structure.
  • The battered disk puffed into a swirling, sparkly ball of gas and stars-an elliptical galaxy.
  • In many of them, there is a central elliptical galaxy which dominates the cluster, and this cluster is no exception.
  • In the end, there can only be one: the two will merge, forming a larger elliptical galaxy.
elliptical galaxy in Science
elliptical galaxy
The most common type of galaxy, ranging in shape from nearly spherical (classified as E0) to greatly elongated (classified as E7). Elliptical galaxies vary greatly in size and include some of the largest and smallest known galaxies. They do not have spiral arms and have considerably less interstellar gas and dust than spiral galaxies, with little or no star formation taking place within them. Their stars follow individual elliptical orbits around the center of the galaxy. Long thought to be older galaxies which had used up all the material for star formation, it has also been suggested that elliptical galaxies actually form from collisions between spiral galaxies. Compare irregular galaxy, lenticular galaxy, spiral galaxy. See more at Hubble classification system.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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