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NGC 4945, a dusty southern spiral galaxy

Date created: 1995-01-20

Tags: galaxy, spiral, dust, AAT

This is one of many peculiar galaxies that populate the large southern constellation of Centaurus. This remarkable spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, and the spiral structure is chaotic and difficult to discern. In part this is because the galaxy is itself extremely dusty, and it is seen through dust in the Milky Way. These effects together account for its yellowish hue, though patches of bluish stars can be seen. The dust in NGC 4945 itself absorbs most of the visible light, especially the blue light from the numerous bright stars known present within the galaxy. This energy is re-radiated at infrared wavelengths, which penetrate dust more readily, which is why the galaxy is found to be unusually bright in the infrared.

Photograph made from plates taken in March 1993.
Top left is NE. Image width is about 16 arc min.

For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory