The magnificent picture from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope displays the trailing arms of NGC 2276. Which is a spiral galaxy 120 million light-years far in the constellation of Cepheus. At first glimpse, the fragile pattern of bright spiral arms and dark dust lanes look like immeasurable other spiral galaxies. A nearer view displays an oddly uneven galaxy shaped by gravitational contact and strong star formation.
This stunning picture stages the uncommonly deformed presence of NGC 2276. A presence which is because of two distinct astrophysical interactions —
- With the superheated gas pervading galaxy clusters,
- The other with a close galactic neighbor.
The interaction of NGC 2276 with the intracluster medium — the superheated gas resting amongst the galaxies in galaxy clusters. It ignites a burst of star formation along one edge of the galaxy. This wave of star structure is evident as the bright, blue-tinged radiance of freshly formed massive stars. This is on the left side of this picture and provides the galaxy a strange lopsided presence.
NGC 2276’s latest burst of star structure also relates to the presence of more tropical inhabitants including:
- Black holes
- Neutron stars in binary systems
On the other side of the galaxy from this surge of new stars, the gravitational allure of a tinier companion is tearing the outer edges of NGC 2276 out of shape. This contact with the tiny lens-shaped galaxy NGC 2300 has altered the outmost spiral arms of NGC 2276. This is giving the misleading notion that the bigger galaxy is positioned face-on to Earth. NGC 2276 and its distracting companion NGC 2300 can together be seen in the associated picture. It indicates a broader view of the interacting galaxies.
NGC 2276 is by no way the only galaxy with a weird presence. The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies — a catalog of bizarre galaxies issued in 1966 — comprises a menagerie of strange and fantastic galaxies, including:
- Spectacular galaxy mergers
- Ring-shaped galaxies
- Other galactic oddities
As becomes an extraordinarily deformed galaxy, NGC 2276 has the difference of being registered in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies twice —
- For its lopsided spiral arms
- Another is for its contact with its minor neighbors NGC 2300.
Note – The definite orientation of NGC 2276 can be implied from the status of its vibrantly glowing galactic core, which is offset from the twisted spiral arms.