Image: Hubble sees a bizarre cosmic rarity: NGC 660

Dec 11, 2013
Credit: Hubble/NASA/European Space Agency

This new Hubble image shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 660, located around 45 million light-years away from us.

NGC 660 is classified as a "polar ring galaxy," meaning that it has a belt of gas and stars around its center that it ripped from a near neighbor during a clash about one billion years ago.The first polar ring galaxy was observed in 1978 and only around a dozen more have been discovered since then, making them something of a cosmic rarity.

Unfortunately, NGC 660's polar ring cannot be seen in this image, but the image has plenty of other features that make it of interest to astronomers – its central bulge is strangely off-kilter and, perhaps more intriguingly, it is thought to harbor exceptionally large amounts of . In addition, in late 2012 astronomers observed a massive outburst emanating from NGC 660 that was around ten times as bright as a .

This burst was thought to be caused by a massive jet shooting out of the at the center of the galaxy.

Explore further: Image: Galaxy NGC 4945

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Galaxy NGC 4945

Nov 05, 2013

This image provides a view into the central region of a galaxy that is similar in overall appearance to our own Milky Way, but contains a much more active supermassive black hole within the white area near ...

Hubble view of a special spiral galaxy

Oct 24, 2013

(Phys.org) —The image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows part of NGC 3621, an unusual spiral galaxy located over 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (The Water ...

Image: NGC 6946, "the fireworks galaxy"

Nov 11, 2013

NGC 6946 is a medium-sized, face-on spiral galaxy about 22 million light years away from Earth. In the past century, eight supernovas have been observed to explode in the arms of this galaxy.

Recommended for you

New window on the early Universe

Oct 22, 2014

Scientists at the Universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of ...

Chandra's archives come to life

Oct 22, 2014

Every year, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory looks at hundreds of objects throughout space to help expand our understanding of the Universe. Ultimately, these data are stored in the Chandra Data Archive, ...

New robotic telescope revolutionizes the study of stars

Oct 22, 2014

In the last 8 months a fully robotic telescope in Tenerife has been carrying out high-precision observations of the motion of stellar surfaces. The telescope is the first in the SONG telescope network and ...

User comments : 0