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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
The Coma Cluster of Galaxies
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Courtesy of NASA.

Elliptical Galaxies

Elliptical galaxies come in a range of shapes and sizes. They can be circular or egg-shaped. They can be very large and bright (giants!) or rather small and dim (dwarfs!). Elliptical galaxies are old. They formed all their stars a long time ago, and no new stars are being born.

If you have the chance to see one through a small telescope, it will probably look just like a fuzzy smudge to you, a piece of lint. But it is really formed of many billions of stars orbitting the center of the galaxy, just as the Earth orbits the Sun. All the light of the galaxy comes from the stars.

Galaxies like to live together in groups called clusters. In clusters, there are hundreds of galaxies. Most of the galaxies in clusters are elliptical galaxies.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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