|Some 40 million light-years distant,
edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4216
is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our
own Milky Way.
Found in the dense
Virgo Galaxy Cluster, NGC 4216 is centered in
this deep telescopic portrait
flanked by fellow
Virgo cluster members NGC 4206 (right) and NGC 4222.
Like other large spirals, including the Milky Way, NGC 4216 has
grown by cannibalizing
smaller satellite galaxies.
In fact, this view has caught it in the act, with still distinct satellite
galaxies showing faint
star streams extending
for thousands of light-years into the halo of NGC 4216.
Taken as part of a survey
hunting for star
streams in nearby spirals,
the image was recorded with a small telescope and camera able to
convincingly detect faint, extended features.
In this color-reversed image, the streams stand out as dark swaths
against a white background.
(Rancho Del Sol Obs.),
David Martinez-Delgado (MPIA, IAC), et al.