How big is the evil eye galaxy?

The Evil Eye Galaxy, also known as NGC 4826, is a spiral galaxy located approximately 17 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. Spanning an impressive 80,000 light-years in diameter, it is considered a relatively large galaxy within our universe.

Named for its striking appearance that resembles an “evil eye,” this galaxy is characterized by a prominent dust lane that cuts across its glowing core. Despite its size, the Evil Eye Galaxy is classified as a lenticular galaxy, combining features of both spiral and elliptical galaxies, making it a fascinating subject of study for astronomers and astrophysicists alike.

Overview of the Evil Eye Galaxy

The Evil Eye Galaxy, also known as NGC 4826, is a stunning spiral galaxy located approximately 17 million light-years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices. It was first discovered by the British astronomer Edward Pigott in March 1787 and later cataloged by the famous astronomer William Herschel. The galaxy’s distinctive appearance, resembling an eerie, glowing eye, earned it the nickname “Evil Eye.”

Size and Dimensions

The Evil Eye Galaxy has a diameter of around 87,000 light-years, making it slightly smaller than our Milky Way galaxy. It belongs to the category of intermediate-sized spiral galaxies, falling between the larger giant spirals and the smaller dwarf galaxies.

The galaxy has a luminosity, or brightness, of about 10 billion times that of our Sun. Its spiral arms stretch out from a central bar-shaped region, giving it a striking visual appearance when observed from Earth. The central region, or “bulge,” is densely packed with older stars, while the spiral arms contain a mix of younger stars and interstellar gas and dust.

The Dark “Eye”

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Evil Eye Galaxy is the prominent dust lane that gives the galaxy its distinctive eye-like appearance. This dark lane is caused by interstellar dust and gas obscuring the light from the stars located behind it. The dust creates a stark contrast against the brighter regions of the galaxy, forming the shape of an eye.

Stellar Populations

NGC 4826 is home to various stellar populations. The central bulge mainly consists of older, red and yellow stars that have lower temperatures. These stars are typically found in regions where star formation activity is minimal. In contrast, the spiral arms contain young, blue and white stars, indicating ongoing star formation.

The galaxy also contains a significant number of globular clusters, which are tightly bound groups of stars that orbit around the galactic center. NGC 4826 boasts over 300 such clusters, with ages ranging from several billion to tens of billions of years.

Exploring the Evil Eye Galaxy

Astronomers have extensively studied the Evil Eye Galaxy using various observational techniques, including radio, infrared, and X-ray observations. These observations have provided valuable insights into the galaxy’s structure, star formation processes, and the presence of supermassive black holes at its center.

Additionally, studies have revealed that NGC 4826 interacts with its surrounding galaxy cluster, resulting in gravitational interactions and tidal forces. These interactions can trigger bursts of star formation and have a significant impact on the overall evolution of the galaxy.

The Evil Eye Galaxy, with its captivating appearance and intriguing structure, continues to capture the curiosity of astronomers and stargazers alike. Its size, luminosity, and unique dust lane contribute to its otherworldly beauty. Further observations and research will undoubtedly uncover more secrets about this mesmerizing celestial object.

The Evil Eye Galaxy, also known as NGC 4826, is classified as a relatively average-sized galaxy within the universe. Despite its ominous name, its size is comparable to many other galaxies and its structure offers fascinating insights into the complexities of galaxies in our universe.

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