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NGC 5068, a spiral galaxy
David Michel

NGC 5068

NGC 5068 is a field barred spiral galaxy in the Virgo constellation. At the center of NGC 5068 is a supermassive black hole whose mass controls the velocity dispersion of the inner stars. The bar (or bar structure) in the bulge (or center) of the galaxy is a sign that it is reaching its full maturity as a galaxy. On average, these barred spiral galaxies are supposed to be two billion years old, the bulge being the oldest and the youngest part being the arms of the galaxy and the outer ridge of the galaxy. One of the leading hypothesis of the arm formation supposes that the presence of density waves from the bulge caused the star formation to occur in a sort of spiral shape in the galaxy. NGC 5068 is about 6.8 million pc away from Earth and about 45,000 light years in diameter.

In the spiral galaxy photo, we can see the bar in the center where a black hole resides. This bar is evidence that the galaxy has finished its formative years, and is starting to become fully mature. You can also see the spiral arms surrounding the center bar, representing the younger stars in the galaxy. There is a high rate of star formation in this arms, making the arms clear and bright. This spiral galaxy can be compared to the Milky Way (the galaxy in which our solar system resides), which also has a barred spiral structure, with a supermassive black hole in the bulge.

References:

Frommert, Hartmut. "NGC 5068." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://spider.seds.org/ngc/ngc.cgi?5068>

Wikipedia, "Barred Spiral Galaxy".

Wikipedia, "Spiral Galaxy".

Wikipedia, "NGC 5068".

Right Ascension (J2000) 13:18:55
Declination (J2000) -21:02:17
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure x number of images for each filter B, C, R, and V (90s x 7)
Image dimension 385x385 pixels; 8.406 arcminutes
Date/time observed April 15, 2016, 22:00 UT
Distance 6.8 million pc (Wikipedia, NGC 5068)
Scale 0.064 pc/arcminute

 

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