Astronomy Picture of the Day



M64: The Black Eye Galaxy

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#102506 by @ 03.08.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
M64: The Black Eye Galaxy


Explanation:

This bright, beautiful
spiral galaxy is
Messier 64,
sometimes known as the Black Eye Galaxy.

M64 lies about 17 million light-years distant in the
otherwise well-groomed northern constellation
Coma Berenices.

The dark clouds along the near-side of
M64's central
region
that give the galaxy its black-eye appearance are
enormous obscuring dust clouds associated with star formation,
but they are not the galaxy's only
peculiar feature.

Observations
show
that M64 is actually
composed of two concentric,
counter-rotating systems of stars, one in the inner 3,000 light-years
and another extending to about 40,000 light-years and rotating in
the opposite direction.

The dusty black eye and bizarre rotation is likely the result of a
merger
of two different galaxies.




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