ESO 381-12 (Image Credit: NASA, ESA, P. Goudfrooij (STScI)

NASA recently pointed the powerful lense of Hubble toward ESO 381-12: a small galaxy located approximately  270 million light-years from Earth toward the Centaurus constellation.

This lovely galaxy—a lenticular by design—certainly resembles a flower that recently bloomed. The 'petals', which are actually shells, are rather uncommon in lenticular galaxies; astronomers aren't entirely sure how they formed in the first place.

The most accepted answer suggests that ESO 381-12 and one of its neighbors—PGC 42871, most likely—interacted sometime in the recent past, "sending shock waves through its structure much like ripples in a pond."

Also pictured faintly in the background are numerous distant galaxies


Share This Article