Hubble Space Telescope spots hazy galaxy with surprising features

This undated photo shows a galaxy named Messier 85, captured by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ESA / HUBBLE & NASA, R. O'CONNELL)

LOS ANGELES – NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a galaxy about 50 million light-years away that holds some surprises, the agency said.

The galaxy, named Messier 85, contains some 400 billion stars, most of which are very old. However, the central region hosts a population of relatively young stars of just a few billion years in age, according to NASA.

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These stars are thought to have formed in a late burst of star formation, likely triggered as the galaxy merged with another galaxy over 4 billion years ago.

Messier 85 has another potentially strange quality. Almost every galaxy is thought to have a supermassive black hole at its center, but based on measurements of the velocities of stars in this galaxy, it is unclear whether Messier 85 contains such a black hole, said NASA.