Two very different galaxies feature in this family portrait taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, together forming a peculiar galaxy pair called Arp 116. The image shows the dramatic differences in size, structure and colour between spiral and elliptical galaxies.
Arp 116 is composed of a giant elliptical galaxy known as Messier 60, and a much smaller spiral galaxy, NGC 4647.
Being a typical elliptical galaxy, Messier 60 on its own may not be very exciting to look at, but together with its adjacent spiral friend, the pair becomes a rather interesting feature in the night sky.
Messier 60 is very bright — the third brightest in the Virgo cluster of galaxies, a collection of more than 1300 galaxies. It is noticeably larger than its neighbour, and has a far higher mass of stars. M 60, like other elliptical galaxies, has a golden colour because of the many old, cool and red stars in it. NGC 4647, on the other had, has many young and hot stars that glow blue, giving the galaxy a noticeably different hue. … (Hubble)