Hubble spots a cosmic cinnamon bun

UGC 12588 isn’t dripping in warm, gooey icing, but this tightly wound spiral galaxy is still a treat to look at!
By | Published: November 24, 2020 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Tully; Acknowledgment: Gagandeep Anand
By using a little bit of imagination, our universe can resemble almost anything. There’s the Skull Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula, and maybe everyone is a bit hungry this week, but this galaxy looks like a cinnamon roll! UGC 12588 is a faint spiral galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. Rather than a traditional sprawling spiral, however, the galaxy has more of a circular shape.

As seen in this image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, UGC 12588 doesn’t have a visible bar of stars across the center and its arms aren’t pronounced. Compared to other spiral galaxies, like our Milky Way, UGC 12588 is wound much tighter and the arms aren’t reaching out into the depths of space. But look closely — young, blue stars outline the galaxy’s arms in its outskirts.

For those who love space and astronomy, exploring spectacles like UGC 12588 is a wonderful feeling — almost as wonderful as waking up to the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls wafting from the kitchen on a holiday morning.