Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Supernova and Star Birth in the Meathook Galaxy

The Meathook Galaxy, or NGC 2442, has a dramatically lopsided shape. One spiral arm is tightly folded in on itself and host to a recent supernova, while the other, dotted with recent star formation, extends far out from the nucleus. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope have captured two contrasting views of this asymmetric spiral galaxy.

The Meathook Galaxy, or NGC 2442, in the southern constellation of Volans (The Flying Fish), is easily recognised for its asymmetric spiral arms. The galaxy's lopsided appearance is thought to be due to gravitational interactions with another galaxy at some point in its history -- though astronomers have not so far been able to positively identify the culprit.

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