Take a look! This lopsided galaxy has one seriously pumped-up arm - Beyond The World
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Take a look! This lopsided galaxy has one seriously pumped-up arm

In a breathtaking new image from the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, an overdeveloped spiral arm of a galaxy dominates the foreground.

The image depicts NGC 772, a lopsided spiral galaxy located about 100 million light-years away in the constellation Aries. The shot was taken by the Gemini North telescope, which is run by the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory and is located near the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii (NOIRLab).

One of the galaxy’s spiral arms appears extra large, due to tidal interactions with its “unruly” neighbor, a dwarf elliptical galaxy called NGC 770. According to a statement from the NOIRLab, tidal interactions produced by variances in the gravitational field strength of the objects have warped and stretched one of NGC 772’s spiral arms, giving the galaxy a lopsided look.

 Galaxy NGC 772 boasts one overdeveloped spiral arm due to tidal interactions with an unruly neighbor.  (Image credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA)

The overdeveloped spiral arm of NGC 772 reaches over the foreground of the new image, toward the frame’s left-hand border. The image reveals that this unusual galaxy lacks the brilliant center bar — a huge, linear structure made up of gas, dust, and stars — found in typical spiral galaxies like our Milky Way and Andromeda. As a result, the spiral arms of NGC 772 spring directly from the galaxy’s brilliant center.

Because of its distinctive appearance, NGC 772 was featured in astronomer Halton Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a 1966 collection of 338 strange and fascinating galaxies that populate the cosmos. Strange structures, such as trailing tidal tails, rings, jets, detachable segments, and other oddities, can be found in the galaxies in this catalog.

The new view depicts a number of galaxies lying in the background, in addition to NGC 772’s pumped-up arm. On March 22, NOIRLab released a new image.

“The bright smears and smudges littering this image are distant galaxies — some of the closer examples can be resolved into characteristic spiral shapes,” NOIRLab personnel wrote in the statement. “Every direction on the sky that astronomers have pointed telescopes toward contains a rich carpet of galaxies, with an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in total in our observable universe.”

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Thomas M.Yanello
Thomas M.Yanello
10 months ago

Mind blowing images,that have heightened my perspective,of how infinite outer space 🪐 is!
Just fascinating!!!

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