Best of AOP - Galaxies

NGC 4618 and NGC 4625

NGC 4618 (left) is a large, one-armed spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici. The smaller, compact-looking galaxy to the right is NGC 4625. In this visible light image, spiral arms are very difficult to see, which originally led astronomers to believe it was a fairly plain and old galaxy. Back in 2005, NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer imaged NGC 4618 with a combination of visible and ultra-violet light. The resulting image showed bright spiral arms emitting significant ultra-violet light, indicating large amounts of star formation. This stage of galaxy evolution was once thought to only be found in distant galaxies, but NGC 4625 is a mere 31 million lightyears away! Studies of this galaxy could potentially clue astronomers in to how stars were formed within our own Milky Way galaxy. It is hypothesized that a collision with NGC 4618 could have potentially triggered the creation of NGC 4625's spiral arms, although that theory leaves NGC 4618's lack of spiral arms a mystery.

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Last Updated: 03-Apr-2014

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About This Image

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/5.5

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Two iterations of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp were applied to the luminance image.

Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the very dim and very bright details of

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = 75 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: Tom Bash and John Fox/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF