NASA finds ‘Lost Galaxy’ shining out of Virgo’s bosom

In the 1950s, when amateur astronomer Leland S. Copeland first fixed his telescope lens on a distant galaxy in the Virgo constellation, he saw an eerie spiral shrouded in dust. Copeland — who was a professional poet fond of writing about the cosmos — dubbed the spiral “The Lost Galaxy,” a name that has stuck some 70 years later.

Less-poetic scientists know this galaxy as NGC 4535, one of the largest of the 2,000-or-so galaxies in the Virgo Cluster located about 50 million light-years from Earth. When viewed through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which captured the stunning image above, the haze that clouded Copeland’s Lost Galaxy vanishes to reveal a vibrant sea of stars not so different from the Milky Way.

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