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BAA Gallery Picture of the Week

NGC 660 in Pisces


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About this observation
Peter Goodhew
Time of observation
07/10/2018 - 01:05
NGC 660
Observing location
Alcalili, Spain
APM TMB 152 F8 LZOS scope
QSI6120ws8 camera
R,G,B 12x600s each bin 1x1 L 30x900s each bin 1x1

Graham describes the image as follows: 40 million light years from Earth in the constellation of Pisces, NGC 660's peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy - a rare galaxy type.  Polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings significantly inclined to the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris eventually strung out in a rotating ring. The polar ring component can also be used to explore the shape of the galaxy's otherwise unseen dark matter halo by calculating the dark matter's gravitational influence on the rotation of the ring and disk. Broader than the disk, NGC 660's ring spans over 50,000 light-years.

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