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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Lenticular Galaxy (NGC 2859), Caleb Kuntz

NGC 2859 is a lenticular galaxy that is found in the constellation Leo Minor. A galaxy is a huge mass of dust, dark matter, stars, and other objects. Lenticular galaxies are not as common as either spiral galaxies or elliptical galaxies, and are in fact, a midpoint between spiral and elliptical galaxies, sharing characteristics of both types. NGC 2859 is also considered a barred galaxy, as it has a distinct bar shape. Therefore, the technical term for its type of galaxy is SB0. NGC 2859 is very far from Earth. It is approximately 85 million light-years away, or 800,000,000,000,000,000,000 km away! Another way to think about this huge distance is to consider the light from this galaxy that hit the camera so that the image could be taken. These photons of light left the stars of the galaxy 85 million years ago!

There are two very interesting features of NGC 2859. They are its bars and its ring. The bars are visible just above and below the bright central core. It is unknown at this point why the bars are there, although it is likely that they move gas from the outer part of a galaxy towards the core, allowing the creation of many new stars. The ring of NGC 2859 is visible around the central, main part of the galaxy. Rings in galaxies can form for a number of reasons. It is thought that NGC 2859 used to be a spiral galaxy with spiral “arms” shooting off from it, but the arms detached from the central region and formed a ring around this core region.

 

References:
David W. Hogg, Michael R. Blanton, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Collaboration. "NGC_2859_UGC_5001_irg_hard" SDSS images of selected RC3 galaxies. <http://cosmo.nyu.edu/hogg/rc3/NGC_2859_UGC_5001_irg_hard.jpg>.

Ratto Gimmi. "NGC 2859 (Leo Minor)" Collecting Photons. <http://icehome.in.cnr.it/icefalls/Galaxy.htm>

Wikipedia contributors. "NGC 2859". Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=NGC_2859&oldid=169765157>

E. Laurikainen, H. Salo, R. Buta and J. H. Knapen. "Properties of bars and bulges in the Hubble sequence." Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 381, 401-417 (2007). <http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.12299.x>

Richard Powell. "A List of Nearby Galaxy Groups" An Atlas of the Universe. <http://www.ldps.ws/Mirror/Universe/galaclus.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 09:24:19
Declination (J2000) 34:30:46
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds each for B, V, R, and C
Date observed

October 19, 2007 (C)
October 24, 2007 (BVR)