The Hubble space telescope has snapped a spectacular image of Messier 66, the largest "player" of the Leo Triplet, and a galaxy with an unusual anatomy: it displays asymmetric spiral arms and an apparently displaced core. The peculiar anatomy is most likely caused by the gravitational pull of the other two members of the trio.
The unusual spiral galaxy, Messier 66, is located at a distance of about 35 million light-years in the constellation of Leo. Together with Messier 65 and NGC 3628, Messier 66 is one third of the Leo Triplet, a trio of interacting spiral galaxies, part of the larger Messier 66 group. Messier 66 wins out in size over its fellow triplets — it is about 100 000 light-years across.
Messier 66 is the proud owner of exclusive asymmetric spiral arms which seem to climb above the galaxy's main disc and an apparently displaced nucleus. This asymmetry is unusual; most often, dense waves of gas, dust and newly born stars wind about the galaxy's center in a symmetric way. Astronomers believe that Messier 66's once orderly shape has most likely been distorted by the gravitational pull of its two neighbors.
This is a composite of images obtained through the following filters: 814W (near infrared), 555W (green) and H-alpha (showing the glowing of the hydrogen gas). They have been combined so to represent the real colors of the galaxy.
Hubble has imaged Messier 66's striking dust lanes and bright star clusters along the spiral arms in fine detail with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. Star clusters — pictured in the blue and pinkish regions of the image — are key tools for astronomers since they are used as indicators of how the parent galaxies assembled over time.
(Photo Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin and Robert Gendler)
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Inheritable Bacterium Controls Aedes Mosquitoes' Ability To Transmit Zika
- What Lies Beneath West Antarctica?
- Exodus 2100: Due To Climate Change
- Unified Mathematical Field Theory Talk
- Use Of Personal Care Products During Pregnancy Linked To Adverse Effects In Newborns
- How To Make Women's Tennis More Competitive
- Humans Have Faster Metabolism Than Closely Related Primates, Enabling Larger Brains
- "Just adding another link. Spinning Brains..."
- "Okay, yes I hadn't thought about clear walled aquariums. That's a good example :). Maybe its easier..."
- " I tried to form a number system with Z6 and I got the same thing as with Z4 ! I too am unclear..."
- "Or maybe homosexuals are just more messed up than average to begin with. Nope, can't be. It's always..."
- "Perhaps it is time that large groups assign some type of weighting to authors to indicate their..."
- War On Fun Fail: After Tax, Soda Sales Rise in Mexico
- Bed Bugs May Have A Favorite Color
- NASA: Rising CO2 Will Help Food Crops
- NRDC Sues EPA Over Fracking – Has The Settlement Been Pre-Arranged?
- Vaccinate Pregnant Moms to Protect Babies from the Flu
- Pure Unstructured Structured Water – Because Some People Will Buy Anything
- Detailed digital human models could hold key to future clinical research
- Extreme ICU: 5 percent of patients account for 33 percent of intensive care and need special focus
- Walking and cycling are good for health even in cities with higher levels of air pollution
- Heavy body shape across lifespan associated with highest mortality
- The NHS is far safer inside the European Union, argues public health expert