The Great Barred Spiral


Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh.

56 million light years away in the constellation Fornax is one of the largest barred spiral galaxies known.  NGC 1365 at 200,000 light years in diameter is roughly twice the size of our Milky Way galaxy and one of the major players in the Fornax galaxy cluster which is comprised of about 60 galaxies.  The bar rotates at a speed of around 2,000 km/s (1,242.7 mi/s) with a complete rotation taking roughly 350 million years.  The entire galaxy is in the process of receding away from us at 1.600 km/s (994 mi/s).

This galaxy, like most barred spirals are alive with star formation.  The pinks and blues of young and newborn stars lace the vast spiral arms that extend off each side of the bar.  That bar and its gravitational influences are likely responsible for much of the star formation in the galaxy.  As the material in the galaxy is disturbed, it creates regions of density which then snowballs into even more dense regions and the stellar accretion process then begins.

The bar of this monster carries the telltale yellow hue of an ancient star collection and the nucleus houses an extremely fast rotating supermassive black hole 2 million times the mass of the Sun; its accretion disk causing the center of the galaxy to glow brightly.

NAME: NGC 1365, The Great Barred Spiral.

WHAT IS IT?: Barred Spiral Galaxy.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 56 million light years and receding at a rate of 1,600 km/s (994 mi/s)..

HOW BIG IS IT?: 200,000 light years in diameter.


WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Fornax and a member of the Fornax galaxy cluster which is comprised of around 58 galaxies.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact Ra/Dec J2000): RA 03h 33m 36.4s DEC −36° 08′ 25″.

Martin Pugh:

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