Hubble Space Telescope captures 'cosmic cinnamon bun'


Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Hubble's view of UGC 12588 shows faint hints of its spiral nature.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Tully; Acknowledgement: Gagandeep Anand

Space can make you feel a sense of wonder, awe or excitement. It might also make you feel hungry if you happen to gaze too long at a fresh-out-of-the-oven image of galaxy UGC 12588 from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The galaxy is a bit of an oddball. It's a spiral galaxy, but it doesn't have the well-defined arms like most of its kind. The European Space Agency described it as looking like a "cosmic cinnamon bun" in a statement on Friday. NASA, which jointly runs Hubble with ESA, also highlighted the image.   

Check out Hubble's view of galaxy NGC 2903, which ESA called "a perfect spiral specimen" to compare looks with UGC 12588. "Unlike the classic image of a spiral galaxy, however, the huge arms of stars and gas in UGC 12588 are very faint, undistinguished and tightly wound around its center," ESA said.  

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UGC 12588 is located in the Andromeda constellation. You can still make out a hint of spiraling by visually tracing the blue stars that linger like sprinkles over the galaxy. ESA said these are likely regions of new star formation. 

This galaxy is in good company with others that resemble familiar objects, from a Star Wars TIE fighter to an adorable penguin with an egg. If international cinnamon-roll chain Cinnabon ever decides to open a franchise in space, we know where it should look first.