There are an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. They come in all shapes and sizes – big, small, elliptical, spiral, barred spiral and irregular. But one galaxy is unlike any other we have ever seen – IC1101. It is known as the largest galaxy in the observable universe.
IC1101 is such a huge galaxy that astronomers have no idea how to classify its shape. For now, it is accepted to be a super-massive elliptical galaxy located one billion light years from Earth, two million light years in radius and has a total of 100 trillion stars. For comparison, consider the Milky Way which has a radius of 50 thousand light years and hosts 300 billion stars. IC1101 is a dying galaxy as it has used almost all of its nebulae and cannot give birth to any new stars. The galaxy is one of the brightest and oldest galaxies in the universe. The galaxy is believed to have formed due to the collision of two big galaxies billions of years ago. Large radio bursts are emitted from the core of the galaxy suggesting that it hosts an ultra-massive black hole having a mass between 40 and 100 billion solar masses.
This galaxy was first discovered in 1790 by Astronomer William Herschel. Then it was later cataloged by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1895 in the Index Cluster of Stars and Nebulae as its 1101st object (thus the name IC1101).
This is some mind blowing information. Let’s see what else does the universe has for us to discover.