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NGC 1055, a dusty, edge-on galaxy

Tags: galaxy, spiral, dust

NGC 1055 is a striking disk galaxy seen almost edge-on a distance of about 40 million light years. It seems to be a member of the small NGC 1068 (M77) group of galaxies in the southern constellation of Cetus. This image reveals with great clarity all the ingredients one might expect to find in an optical photograph of a spiral galaxy.

There is a faint, greatly extended halo, which does not seem to reflect the flat, disk-like shape of the main disk, though it is not completely devoid of structure. On deep photographs the faint halo extends almost as far as the disk itself and has a distinctly peanut-like shape. In the outer parts of the galaxy but firmly confined to the disk are scattered clumps of young stars and star forming regions, increasing in number towards the nucleus. Around the nucleus is a 'bulge' made of billions of faint, slightly yellowish stars. Crossing that is the dust lane, yellowing the light of the bulge even more. The nucleus itself is hidden at the center of this concentration of light.

Made from "MITLL2" CCD RGB data obtained by Steve Lee and David Malin in December 1998
Top left is NE. Image width is about 7 arc min.

© Australian Astronomical Observatory