NGC 4013 and the Tidal Stream

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#105538 by @ 08.02.2008 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 4013 and the Tidal Stream


Explanation:

Nearly 50 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major,
NGC 4013 was long considered an isolated island
universe
.

Seen edge-on, the gorgeous spiral
galaxy was
known
for its
flattened disk and central bulge of stars, cut by silhouetted dust
lanes.

But href="http://www.cosmotography.com/images/small_ring_ngc4013.html">this
deep
color image of the region reveals a previously unknown feature
associated with NGC 4013, an enormous, faint looping structure extending
(above
and toward the left) over 80 thousand light-years from the galaxy's
center.

A detailed exploration of
the remarkable
structure reveals it to be a
stream of stars originally belonging to another galaxy, likely a smaller
galaxy
torn
apart
by gravitational
tides as it merged with the larger spiral.

Astronomers argue that the newly discovered tidal stream also explains a
warped
distribution of neutral hydrogen gas seen in
radio
images
of
NGC 4013 and offers
parallels to the
formation of
our own Milky Way galaxy.



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