Hubble gives view of a rather tricky galaxy to classify

A spiral in good company.

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Located approximately 98 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo, the galaxy NGC 4680 has a diameter of 45,000 light-years. The above image of NGC 4680, captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, shows two other galaxies at the far right and bottom center of the image, flanking NGC 4680.

Also known as IRAS 12443-1121 or LEDA 43118, the galaxy is sometimes referred to as a spiral galaxy or a lenticular galaxy.

The NGC 4680 does have distinguishable spiral arms, they are not clearly defined, and the tip of one arm appears very diffuse; hence it is referred to as Lenticular galaxy. Lenticular galaxies fall somewhere in between spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies.

As mentioned in the release, the galaxy played host to a supernova explosion known as SN 1997bp.