The dusty southern spiral galaxy NGC 4945
AAO image reference AAT 101.    « Previous || Next »

The dusty southern spiral galaxy NGC 4945, ngc4945.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 16 arc min
Image and text © 1993-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

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 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.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1