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A flocculent spiral galaxy with a really, really weird middle

15 Nov 2019, 14:00 UTC
A flocculent spiral galaxy with a really, really weird middle
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

One of my favorite things about seeing big splashy gorgeous images of spiral galaxies is, duh, how big, splashy, and gorgeous they are.

But another one of my favorites things is, after looking at it for a second, thinking, "Wait. What?"

NGC 2775 is a spiral galaxy about 60 million light years away. It's part of a small group of galaxies, some of which have apparently interacted with each other in the past, though there's no hint NGC 2775 has been a part of that. It looks like a perfectly ordinary spiral… at least at first glance. But it has hidden depths.

Or, more accurately, not hidden depths.

Behold!

NGC 2775, a flocculent spiral galaxy with a weird middle. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Space Telescope/Janice Lee, processed by Judy Schmidt

Yeah. This image is from Hubble Space Telescope, and processed by the ever-amazing Judy Schmidt. I'll get back to that in a sec, because how she processed it is relevant.

But look at it! Wow! Such beautiful, feathery arms — the technical term is that the arms are flocculent, meaning like strings of puffballs. I've written about how this may happen in a post about another spectacular flocculent spiral, M63:

The patchwork ...

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