April 4, 2002: Tightly wound, almost concentric, arms of dark dust encircle the bright nucleus of the galaxy NGC 2787 in this Hubble Space Telescope image. In astronomer Edwin Hubble's galaxy classification scheme, NGC 2787 is classified as an SB0, a barred lenticular galaxy. These lens-shaped galaxies show little or no evidence of the grand spiral arms that occur in their more photogenic cousins, though NGC 2787 does sport a faint bar, not apparent in this image. The picture was created by the Hubble Heritage team.
Astronomers are looking at the centers of barred lenticular galaxies like NGC 2787 for clues about the process of galaxy formation, including the role of galaxy collisions and central black holes.
Also visible in the Heritage image are about a dozen globular clusters hovering around NGC 2787. What appear to be stars are, in fact, gravitationally bound families of hundreds of thousands of ancient stars orbiting the center of NGC 2787.