Astronomy Picture of the Day


Unusual Spiral Galaxy M66 from Hubble

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#112468 by [z]Barbara Harris @ 14.04.2010 00:00 - nach oben -
Unusual Spiral Galaxy M66 from Hubble


Explanation:
Why isn't spiral galaxy
M66 symmetric?

Usually
density waves of gas, dust, and newly formed stars circle a
spiral galaxy's
center and create a
nearly symmetric galaxy.

The differences between
M66's
spiral arms and the apparent displacement of its
nucleus are all likely caused by previous close interactions and the
tidal gravitational pulls
of nearby galaxy neighbors
M65 and
NGC 3628.

Spiral galaxy M66,
pictured
above, spans about 100,000
light years, lies about 35 million light years distant, and is the largest galaxy in a
group known as the
Leo Triplet.

Like many spiral galaxies, the long and intricate
dust lanes of
M66 are seen intertwined with the
bright stars and
nebulas
that light up the spiral arms.





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