Defying cosmic convention

Esahubble_potw1712a_500

esahubble_potw1712a March 20th, 2017

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Some galaxies are harder to classify than others. Here, Hubbles trusty Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured a striking view of two interacting galaxies located some 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The more diffuse and patchy blue glow covering the right side of the frame is known as NGC 3447 sometimes NGC 3447B for clarity, as the name NGC 3447 can apply to the overall duo. The smaller clump to the upper left is known as NGC 3447A. The trouble with space is that it is, to state the obvious, really, really big. Astronomers have for hundreds of years been discovering and naming galaxies, stars, cosmic clouds and more. Unifying and regulating the conventions and classifications for everything ever observed is very difficult, especially when you get an ambiguous object like NGC 3447, which stubbornly defies easy categorisation. Overall, we know NGC 3447 comprises a couple of interacting galaxies, but were unsure what each looked like before they began to tear one another apart. The two sit so close that they are strongly influenced and distorted by the gravitational forces between them, causing the galaxies to twist themselves into the unusual and unique shapes seen here. NGC 3447A appears to display the remnants of a central bar structure and some disrupted spiral arms, both properties characteristic of certain spiral galaxies. Some identify NGC 3447B as a former spiral galaxy, while others categorise it as being an irregular galaxy.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1712a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
NGC 3447
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy » Type » Interacting
Esahubble_potw1712a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 10h 53m 25.2s
DEC = 16° 46’ 42.3”
Orientation
North is 40.5° CCW
Field of View
2.7 x 2.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Leo

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_cyan Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (V) 555.0 nm
Arrow_left_orange Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_luminosity Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (Very Broad) 350.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_orange
Arrow_top_luminosity
Esahubble_potw1712a_1280
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ID
potw1712a
Subject Category
C.5.1.7  
Subject Name
NGC 3447
Credits
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1712a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFC3, WFC3, WFC3
Color Assignment
Cyan, Orange, Luminosity
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
V, I, Very Broad
Central Wavelength
555, 814, 350
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
163.355019521, 16.7784282825
Reference Dimension
4084.0, 3497.0
Reference Pixel
2042.0, 1748.5
Scale
-1.10038289056e-05, 1.10038289056e-05
Rotation
40.519999999999953
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1712a
Metadata Date
2016-09-12T08:37:01+02:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.