|The Black Eye Galaxy in Coma Berenices was discovered by Bode in April
1779. M64 is
famous for its conspicuous dark structure which is a prominent
dust feature obscuring the stars behind. The main spiral pattern contains
a middle aged stellar population. This dust feature is well visible with
a small telescope. |
M64 was recently shown to have two counterrotating systems of stars and gas in its disk: The inner part is about 6,000 light years across and is rubbing along the inner edge of the outer disk, which rotates opposite and extends up to at least 40,000 light years. The fascinating internal motions of M64 are thought to be the result of a collision between a small galaxy and a large galaxy - where the resultant mix has not yet settled down.
The peculiar dust lane on one side of the nucleus (also a site of star formation, as shown by the blue knots imbedded in it) may be caused by material from a former companion which has been accreted but has yet to settle into the mean orbital plane of the disk.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Anne Beiter and Jon Shallop/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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