The magnificent galaxy NGC 4710 is tilted nearly edge-on to our view from Earth. This perspective allows astronomers to easily distinguish the central bulge of stars from its pancake-flat disk of stars, dust, and gas. Like the yellow yolk on a fried egg, the central bulge extends outside of the central disk. Dark dust lanes – raw material for future generations of stars and planets – also appear confined to the central disk. What's striking in the image is a ghostly "X" pattern of stars. This is due to the inclined orbits of the stars in the galaxy's central bar-like structure. Located 65 million light-years away, NGC 4710 is a member of the giant Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It can be seen as a dim, 11th-magnitude, spindle-like smudge in a medium-sized amateur telescope. This natural-color photo was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys on January 15, 2006.
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Hubble/ESA, Garching, Germany