What is this galaxy? I can't work it out

  1. I was using Starry Night Pro software tonight, and I was just cutting about the universe having a wee look at the galaxies when I came across this lovely spiral galaxy (hopefully attached). It is named in the software "PGC 38077.1", it has an apparent apparent magnitude of -2.01 (yes, that was a pun), it is 38077.1 million light years from the Sun, and in the constellation of Ursa Major. Using any combination of these facts in Google has procured nothing, so I would appreciate it if anyone can identify this galaxy as I would love to know more about it. Thanks.
     

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  2. jcsd
  3. There is no galaxy in the sky with apparent magnitude -2. If it did it wouldn't be 38 Gly away and the PGC catalog entires are not formated like PGC 38077.1. The image does however look like the M101 galaxy which is in Ursa Major. Maybe it was Starry Nights idea of an Aprils fool's joke?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  4. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

  5. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Looks like it could be NGC 3938 which is in Ursa Major.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_3938

    Edit: I don't think it's M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy, as the spiral arm coming off the bottom of your image doesn't seem to match up with the one that comes off of M101 in a similar way. I also can't find any of the major stars that are in front of M101. Although it's possible that the data processing used in that image may have removed or buried them, but I don't think so.
     
  6. Could it be Starry Night's idea of what the Milky Way looks like from outside?
     
  7. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Why would the program say it's a galaxy at 38+ million light years if it were the Milky Way?
     
  8. Well, I've used Starry Night, and if I'm not mistaken it let's you "fly around" in space and then shows you what the sky looks like from that location. So I think it is possible that you could fly out 38 million light years in space, then look back toward the Earth. I'm not saying that this is what happened, I'm just throwing it out as a possibility.
     
  9. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Ah ok, that makes more sense.
     
  10. SteamKing

    SteamKing 8,619
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    Is width of the universe 38 billion light years? I thought the age of the universe was only about 13-15 billion years.
     
  11. SteamKing

    SteamKing 8,619
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    My vote is for NGC 1232. A picture of this galaxy appears in several articles as a generic picture of what a galaxy looks like.

    Here is the wiki for NGC 1232 w/picture:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_1232
     
  12. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    The diameter of the observable universe is about 93 billion light-years. Expansion has caused objects to recede from us over time, so when we look at light that has been traveling for 13 billion years, the emitting source is about 45 billion light-years from us currently.
     
  13. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    You are dead on sir! I believe I can match the bright stars and the background galaxies up perfectly between the two pictures. Funny, that galaxy is in Eridanus, not Ursa Major. I guess they used the wrong image lol.
     
  14. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    That seems to be the galaxy in the OP image. But it's not in Ursa Major, but in Eridanus.

    I copied the image and rotated it to match the op.

    It is also available at APOD - http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120107.html
     

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  15. OmCheeto

    OmCheeto 1,943
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    I don't have Excel on my new laptop, but it looks like 38077.1 converts to April 1st, 2004, so you may be correct about it being a joke.

    Also, That image was used on an album cover:

    [​IMG]

    Cosmos Electroclassic
    Kris Di Natale, Valentino Salazar

    There is an object by a similar description (PGC38077) in something called Leda, a database for physics of galaxies.

    I don't understand galactic coordinate systems, so I have not a clue where it's at, nor it's distance.

    But I see that others have found it: NGC 1232.

    Yay!
     
  16. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    What version of Starry Night? I have 5.01 and though it lists that galaxy (as a companion to one without the .1), it doesn't show an image. It is magnitude 15.5.
     
  17. Thanks for the replies, you've all been very helpful. Although my authority is lacking other than that I am the OP, I think that SteamKing has got it with NGC 1231. As to that galaxy residing in a different constellation from what Starry Night (version six, russ_watters) says, I just clicked on a few other random galaxies and I have found what to me looks like the same picture of NGC 1231 manipulated to look three dimensional, but under the information PGC 139273, 453.2 Mly from the Sun, App. Mag -2.39, in Ursa Major. I'm guessing this is some sort of programming fault rather than identical galaxies...
     
  18. OmCheeto

    OmCheeto 1,943
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    2014 Award

    It doesn't sound like a fault, from what you've described. It sounds like you are wandering around in the software further than the Hubble has taken "crisp" images of. If I were the software developers, looking at what might be 10,000 spiral galaxies at the fringe of our universe, I'd copy and paste.

    Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest-Ever View of the Universe
     
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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
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