NGC 3628, an edge-on galaxy in Leo
AAO image reference AAT 63.    « Previous || Next »

NGC 3628, an edge-on galaxy in Leo, ngc3628.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 17 arc min
Image and text © 1989-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

Probably the most interesting member of the Leo triplet was too faint for Messier to see, so it does not appear in his catalogue. This picture has been specially enhanced to reveal NGC 3628, which is seen as an edge-on spiral galaxy, crossed by a dust lane. Galaxies seen edge-on are rare, but this example has other peculiarities. The dust lane is distinctly askew and the ends of the spiral arms are obviously puffed out, with evidence of star formation. The bright bulge of the galaxy also has an unusual 'peanut' shape. This suggests that the galaxies of the Leo group are interacting, gradually pulling each other apart as they orbit each other. Paradoxically, this will lead to their eventual merger.

Related Images
AAT 61.   Messier 65 (NGC 3623) spiral galaxy in Leo
AAT 62.   Messier 66 (NGC 3627) spiral galaxy in Leo
AAT 103. The galaxies of the Leo Triplet
INT 4..     NGC 891, edge-on spiral galaxy
INT 4a..   NGC 891, edge-on spiral galaxy, wide field
Constellation of Leo (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2011, November 17