Best of AOP - Galaxies

NGC 2276 and NGC 2300

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) surrounding these galaxies. It could be that NGC 2276ʼs motion through the gas affects its morphology.

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.

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Last Updated: 12-Mar-2014

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About This Image

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16in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Due to the northern declination of this object (+85 degrees), it was difficult to obtain well guided images due to

field rotation.

The data for this image was taken on separate nights. Poor dark frames did not help the S/N.

Luminance = 95 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: Carlos and Crystal Acosta/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF