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The Mayall Telescope has played an important role in establishing the role of dark matter in the universe through observations of how galaxies rotate, and in determinations of stellar radii from occultations. The telescope was also instrumental in ascertaining the distance scale and large scale structure of the universe.

The rim of the Sombrero Galaxy (M104, NGC4594) is a dust lane that obstructs starlight. An intense halo of stars and globular clusters complete the hat-like appearance of this spiral galaxy found in the constellation Virgo.

The Mayall Telescope captured this picture in 1974.

The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101, NGC 5457) has hot stars forming in the spiral arms and stars many billions of years old in the nucleus. It can be found 22 million light years away in the constellation Ursa Major.

This picture was imaged in 1999 by the Mayall Telescope using the wide-field imaging system Mosaic.


A minority of spirals have an elongated nucleus that appears as a bar lied across the galaxy. The cause of this lengthened structure is not fully understood. NGC 1530 is an example of such a barred spiral.

This galaxy was photographed with the 4-meter in 1975.



Elliptical galaxies are composed mostly of older stars. Unlike spirals, these galaxies typically have less interstellar material such as dust. The ellipticals vary in shape from almost perfectly circular to very elongated. The Milky Way has several very small companion elliptical galaxies although other clusters contain giant ellipticals.




There are working astronomers who have earned advanced college degrees. However, these scientists work in partnership with others having different skills and educational backgrounds.


Are there astronomy jobs for people without a Ph.D.?

Here is a list of them!

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NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The Kitt Peak Virtual Tour is developed and maintained by the NOAO Educational Outreach Office.

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