Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Topsy Turvy Galaxy

The Topsy Turvy Galaxy (also known as NGC 1313, PGC 12286, and ESO 082-G 011) is a spiral barred galaxy, located at a  distance of 20 million light years in the constellation of Virgo. It was discovered on the 27th of September 1826 by James Dunlop.

This is a field galaxy, meaning that it is not subject to gravitational effects of other galaxies. It is 50,000 light years across, making nearly half the size of our Galaxy. 

The galaxy has some interesting features. First as it can be seen from optical images, it is clear that it has an uneven shape. Also, its axis of rotation is not at its centre.

Furthermore, this is a starburst galaxy, thus it contains numerous massive young blue stars. The high rate of star formation, together with the interesting morphological features can be explained through a collision in the past.

But, since the galaxy seems to be isolated, with no obvious companions or neighbours, most likely it has cannibalized a smaller galaxy in the past.

Image: Composite optical image of NGC 1313, taken with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The image was created using broadband optical filters, B-band (green), R-band (blue), and Z-band (orange), together with narrow band filters that are focused on the emission of ionized hydrogen (Hα, red), doubly ionized oxygen ([O III], orange), and singly ionized oxygen ([O II], green).

Image Credit: ESO


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