Why do we see some galaxies edge-on and others face-on?

We find out why galaxies are orientated this way

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Face-on and edge-on galaxies can be found in the universe. Image Credit: NASA

Face-on and edge-on galaxies can be found in the universe. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Sam Maise

When the universe formed, it did so following a fairly loose structure. This difference in galaxy shape simply arises from their orientation with respect to the Earth.

Our current understanding of cosmology suggests that dark matter helped shape the large-scale structure of the universe. However, the finer details such as the orientation of galaxies and similar objects were left to form freely. As a result we don’t see any particular alignment or facing of these objects, giving us a varied view of what is around us. This view proves to be invaluable for researchers, as different perspectives can reveal different information regarding the mechanics of galaxies.

Answered by Sophie Allan from the National Space Centre

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