A Hexagonal Galactic Center

Noirlab_iotw2224a_1024

noirlab_iotw2224a June 15th, 2022

Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/H. Dottori, R. J. Díaz, G. Gimeno Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)

NGC 7020, a barred lenticular galaxy in the southern constellation Pavo, holds a geometric mystery. Clear but subtle in this image from Gemini South, one half of the International Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, the core of NGC 7020 is visibly hexagonal in shape. A hexagon is not a common shape for any celestial body, let alone an entire galaxy. To form a hexagonal structure such as this, a considerable number of stars must orbit in a very narrow band. This orbital path includes two denser regions of stars seen on the left and right sides of the hexagon, which are known as “ansae”. NGC 7020’s unusual shape seems to be the product of a very rare orbital resonance, or an as-yet-unknown phenomenon.  The 8-meter Gemini South telescope is located on Cerro Pachón in the Chilean Andes. Along with the other half of the international Gemini observatory, Gemini North in Hawai‘i, these two telescopes give us a deep view of the entire night sky.

Provider: NOIRLab

Image Source: https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2224a/

Curator: NSF's NOIRLab, Tucson, AZ, USA

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
NGC 7020
Noirlab_iotw2224a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 21h 11m 19.8s
DEC = -64° 1’ 32.5”
Orientation
North is 300.0° CW
Field of View
5.4 x 4.5 arcminutes
Constellation
Pavo

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Gemini-S (GMOS-S) Optical (g) 475.0 nm
Green Gemini-S (GMOS-S) Optical (r) 630.0 nm
Orange Gemini-S (GMOS-S) Optical (i) 780.0 nm
Red Gemini-S (GMOS-S) Optical (H-alpha) 656.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Orange
Red
Noirlab_iotw2224a_1280
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ID
iotw2224a
Subject Category
Subject Name
NGC 7020
Credits
International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/H. Dottori, R. J. Díaz, G. Gimeno Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)
Release Date
2022-06-15T10:14:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2224a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Gemini South, Gemini South, Gemini South, Gemini South
Instrument
GMOS-S, GMOS-S, GMOS-S, GMOS-S
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Orange, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
g, r, i, H-alpha
Central Wavelength
475, 630, 780, 656
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None, None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
317.832705642, -64.0257061035
Reference Dimension
2238.0, 1863.0
Reference Pixel
1119.0, 931.5
Scale
-4.05401274391e-05, 4.05401274391e-05
Rotation
-300.04000000000053
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NSF's NOIRLab
URL
https://noirlab.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
950 North Cherry Ave.
City
Tucson
State/Province
AZ
Postal Code
85719
Country
USA
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
NSF's NOIRLab
Publisher ID
noirlab
Resource ID
iotw2224a
Metadata Date
2022-06-13T03:00:46+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.