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You made a elliptical galaxy!

This video works with the hologram projector given out at the Galaxy Makers exhibition. You can find a little tutorial on how to use it here.

Congratulations on making a galaxy! You can watch a fly around video of your model galaxy here. If you have a pyramid projector and you are viewing this on your phone then select "hologram video" and play in full-screen mode. You need to make sure your phone is playing the movie horizontally (i.e., hold the phone in front you horizontally before laying it flat). The holograms look best in a dark room with the phone brightness on full (see here for an example of how to use your pyramid). To find out more about your galaxy and how it compares to real galaxies use the buttons below.

Take a closer look

Hubble Simulation

Here is an image of your model elliptical galaxy and also an image of a real spiral galaxy (ESO 325-G004) taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. You can slide between the two to compare. Elliptical galaxies are shaped like stretched out circles, known as ellipses. Elliptical galaxies are mostly made up of old stars and have much less dust and gas. As a result they often appear very "fuzzy" without many interesting features. The lack of these components means that very few stars are created in ellipticals. In the model galaxy you can see something similar but due to the difficultly of making a perfect model the details are not perfect. In the centre of your galaxy (and the real one!) there is a supermassive black hole. These objects contain the same amount of material as millions to billions of stars but all crammed into an incredibly small space. When lots of material falls onto these black holes they can become the brightest objects in the Universe, shining like a beacon at the centre of these galaxies.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); J. Blakeslee (Washington State University)

What is inside my galaxy?

Here is your unique pie chart for your model elliptical galaxy that shows you a break down of what your galaxy is made from (by weight). You made an elliptical galaxy which have lots of older stars compared to young stars. Your galaxy also has very little gas and dust. However, you can see that the biggest segment represents dark matter. Find out more about these ingredients on the next few pages.

Learn more about the stars

Stars are big balls of very hot gas that produce their own light. Big galaxies contain billions of stars of different sizes and colours. You made an elliptical galaxy which contains lots of old stars. Old stars are usually redder/yellower than young stars because stars get colder as they start to run out of fuel (unless they have very very heavy and then they can explode very quickly run out of fuel and can explode in "supernovae").

What about the gas?

Gas and dust are an important part of galaxies because they are the materials that stars are made from. Elliptical galaxies contain less gas and dust compared to spiral galaxies. In the picture you can see gas around a galaxy, viewed from very far away. This picture was made with a computer and the colours are not real but tell you about the temperature of the gas (hot gas is shown in red). Gas falls onto the galaxy from large distances. This gas will go on to form more stars in the future unless something stops it from getting cold enough to clump together, such as exploding stars or the supermassive black hole.

What about the dark matter?

Did you know that most of the material in the Universe is made of dark matter? Dark matter is the name that we give to matter or "material" that we cannot see and appears to be made up of something other than the regular materials we know about. Astronomers know that this extra dark matter must be present because of the strong effect that its gravity has on light and other objects nearby. This picture shows what the dark matter may look like surrounding a galaxy viewed from a very large distance if you had a special "dark matter" telescope. This model image was made using a computer and the colours are not real; however, bright colours show you where lots of dark matter should be found. Most of the stars in a model galaxy would only found in the central bright region of this picture.

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