A bizarre cosmic rarity: NGC 660

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 centre that it ripped from a near neighbour 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 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 harbour exceptionally large amounts of dark matter. In addition, in late 2012 astronomers observed a massive outburst emanating from NGC 660 that was around ten times as bright as a supernova explosion. This burst was thought to be caused by a massive jet shooting out of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Brian Campbell.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1348a
Type:Observation
Release date:2 December 2013, 10:00
Size:1971 x 1640 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 660
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Ring
• X - Galaxies Images/Videos
Distance:45 million light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
R
658 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
B
450 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.1 MB
Screensize JPEG
486.6 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
572.2 KB
1280x1024
946.5 KB
1600x1200
1.3 MB
1920x1200
1.6 MB
2048x1536
2.1 MB

Also see our