I've seen galaxies in all shapes: elliptical, spiral, weirdly mashed up, even rings. But NGC 4452 really threw me when I saw it. Sure, spiral galaxies are flat, so when seen on-edge they look a little weird. But this one is so narrow, far more than usual! That really threw me when I first saw it.
One reason the galaxy looks so flat is because one of the two colors of light seen in this image is the near infrared, which tends to downplay dust and gas in the galaxy. Still, the galaxy really is quite flat, even in visible light. It's a remarkable picture, worthy of being among the best of the year, but as with the spiral at the beginning of this Runners-up list, it didn't really compare to the incredible M51 spiral galaxy image, so I left it off.Get the hi-res version here.Image credit: ESA/Hubble