NASA has published a photo of a distant ‘cinnamon bun’ in space, one made of stars and gas dust collected together in an unusual way. The image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, which observed the faint galaxy where it is located way over in the Andromeda constellation. Despite its appearance, NASA says the ‘cinnamon bun’ is a spiral galaxy.
The cinnamon bun is officially known as the galaxy UGC 12588; it is a faint galaxy located in a group of galaxies, but it has a unique feature that makes it stand out from the bunch. According to astronomers, UGC 12588 is a spiral galaxy even though it doesn’t look like one.
Spiral galaxies are called such due to their typically prominent ‘arms’ made of gas and stars that spiral outward from the denser center. When it comes to UGC 12588, however, the arms are wrapped around the galaxy’s center — that, combined with their faint nature, makes the galaxy look like a sphere.
NASA describes the white and reddish appearance, as well as the shape, as similar to a ‘cinnamon bun,’ the galaxy’s fun nickname. The space agency often refers to celestial bodies and clusters by nicknames that refer to their general appearance — there was the ‘greater pumpkin‘ it revealed for Halloween, for example.
As for the ‘cinnamon bun,’ this image was possible by NASA and the ESA’s joint effort on Hubble, the aging space telescope that will soon be replaced. As with other space images, anyone can download the high-resolution version of this image from NASA’s website.