Image of the Day: A Spectacular One-Spiral Galaxy


This August 25, 2003 NASA Spitzer Space Telescope image shows galaxy NGC 4725 –a barred spiral galaxy about 40 million light-years away in the constellation Corna Berenices. While most spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 appears to have only one, "solo spira mirabilis." The galaxy is tightly wound, traced by bluish, newborn star clusters, with obscuring dust lanes, a prominent ring, and a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars.  Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that they can be either leading or trailing arms with respect to a galaxy's overall rotation.

Image credit: NASA

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