Wednesday, February 24, 2021

NGC 4622: Exploring the Backward Galaxy

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Backward Galaxy

Located within the Centaurus constellation, NGC 4622, commonly referred to as the Backward galaxy, is a face-on spiral galaxy free from bars yet boasting an unmistakable ring structure. This unique galaxy, part of the Centaurus Cluster, sits approximately 111 million light years away from our planet, Earth.

The Peculiarity of Leading Spiral Arms

Uniquely, NGC 4622 stands as a prime example of a galaxy possessing leading spiral arms, a phenomenon that challenges the conventional belief that the tips of spiral arms in galaxies trail away from the galaxy center in the same direction as the disk's orbital rotation.

The Influential Forces Behind NGC 4622's Unique Structure

In the intriguing case of NGC 4622, its outer arms are actually leading spiral arms, with their tips pointing in the same direction as the disk rotation. This distinctive characteristic is possibly a result of a gravitational tug-of-war between NGC 4622 and another galaxy, or it might be the aftermath of a merger between NGC 4622 and a smaller celestial body.

Additionally, NGC 4622 features a single inner trailing spiral arm. While initial suspicions were that this inner spiral arm was a leading one, further observations that confirmed the outer arms as leading inevitably determined that the inner arm was, in fact, trailing.

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