Berkeley astronomers explore the shape of galaxies

January 9, 2017

The astonishing beauty of galaxies visible from Earth has enchanted humanity ever since our ancestors first gazed into the twinkling night and wondrously beheld them. Some galaxies look like elegant whirling spirals or cosmic frisbees, while others look like elliptical blobs or lumpy irregular clumps smeared across the sky. The variety of galactic shapes prompts questions as old as astronomy: why do galaxies form these characteristic shapes? Can elliptical galaxies become spirals, or vice versa?