| An odd couple lives some 100 million light years away. Here we find
a spiral galaxy, NGC 2276 on the left, and its neighbor NGC 2300 on the right.
There are quite a few intriguing questions concerning this pair. First of
all NGC 2276 displays a perturbed spiral structure yet astronomers seem to
agree that NGC 2300 is not the source of the angst. Instead, astronomers have
learned that there is an abundance of gas (not shown in this picture)
these galaxies. It could be that NGC 2276's motion through the gas affects
The second question that astronomers have deals with how two galaxies of seemingly different types are found together. Many theories of galactic formation state that it is the environment in which a galaxy forms that most strongly determines its structure. So how did these two come about?
Finally, recent studies have revealed that the common envelope of gas that surrounds these two galaxies is very massive and hot (emitting X-ray radiation). Yet there isn't enough luminous mass from these two galaxies alone to gravitationally hold on to the gas. This is one of many observations that lends credence to "dark matter" and its ubiquitous nature in our Universe. Please visit the following link to learn more about the NGC 2300 group of galaxies and dark matter .
color production was used to create this image.
Luminance = 95 minutes
Minimum credit line: Carlos and Crystal Acosta/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
BACK to main Best of AOP page.
Return to NOAO Home Page