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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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NGC 7771, Michel Ryskamp

NGC 7771

The galaxy NGC 7771 is a barred spiral galaxy within a triplet of other galaxies. These other galaxies are a small lenticular galaxy NGC 7770, an edge on spiral galaxy NGC 7771A, and another spiral NGC 7769 to the west. NGC 7771 is currently undergoing a direct encounter with both NGC 7771A and NGC 7769. NGC 7771 has an enormous counter-tail implying that the galaxies have already passed very closely. Radio observation has shown the entire system embedded within a field of cold molecular hydrogen. The center of NGC 7771 is bright with two arms extending off the base. The southern arc has clusters of brighter emission while the northern arc is more evenly lit. There is also an arc extending away from 7771 near the southern arm that extends out to surround the companion galaxy 7770. Also of interest, NGC 7770 has two nuclei, one facing east, and one facing west. NGC 7771 is roughly 225 million light years away and its diameter is 163,000 light years across.

I decided to pick a galaxy to observe because to me, they are extremely interesting. With disks of matter equaling 27 billion solar masses, the size and sheer number of them is astounding. NGC 7771 struck me as interesting because it was so closely involved with the surrounding galaxies. Upon reading further about 7771, I found out that it was involved in an ongoing collision with its neighboring galaxies. To imagine three galaxies colliding and be able to take a picture of that is impressive and interesting.