NGC 4526 (Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, (Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt)

This stunning galaxy is NGC 4526 — a brilliant beacon of light illuminating an endless sea of darkness. It can be found approximately 53 million light-years away from Earth in the Virgo constellation.

This newly-released Hubble image manages to capture its best characteristics, including its expansive dust lanes, along with its brilliantly bright diffuse glow. The only thing more impressive than its halo's luminosity is its sheer size. It dwarfs the galaxy itself dozens of times over. It's also a side-affect of something much less beautiful..

You see, along with being one of the most picturesque, NGC 4526 is also one of the brightest lenticular galaxies (such galaxies have characteristics of spiral and elliptical galaxies, thus they technically lie somewhere in the middle) ever cataloged. This can be chalked up to an impressive amount of star formation activity (and an equally impressive supermassive black hole — which contains the mass of 450 million Suns —  looming in its central core). We've also seen several supernovae over the last half century. The first took place in 1959 (SN 1969E), while the second was spotted back in 1994 (known as SN 1994D).

See a larger image here.


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