Spiral galaxy Whopper

By Gary Zientara Mount Sangre Observatory
Posted 3/27/19

This "hamburger" is a Whopper of galactic proportions.

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Spiral galaxy Whopper


Mount Sangre Observatory

This "hamburger" is a Whopper of galactic proportions. This is an edge on view of a spiral galaxy 35 million light years away in the constellation Leo the Lion. It's a bit peculiar compared to other spiral galaxies in that it appears to be fluttering, causing its edges to spread out like fixins' coming out of the sides of a hamburger. Besides its mouth-watering name, there is a scientific explanation for its unique physique. There are two other galaxies close by (not shown here) that are interacting gravitationally with the hamburger. They are M65 and M66. Together the three galaxies form the Leo Triplet.

Here are a few cosmic events to watch for in April:

April 18

Full Pink Moon named after the early spring blooming flower pink phlox

An alternate name for this moon more appropriate for our area is the Sprouting Grass Moon. The melting snow is going to green up New Mexico adding color to the landscape with the rebirth of sages and grasses along with (hopefully) a burst of new desert and mountain flowers.

April 23

Jupiter within 2 degrees south of the moon

You'll need to get up at around 5 a.m. to see this event. The moon will be quite bright, but so is Jupiter. They'll look good together using just your eyes, but 10-by-50 binoculars will reveal the four Galilean moons, two on each side of the Jovian planet, as well as the tortured cratered surface of the waning gibbous moon.

April 25

Saturn within 1 degree of the moon

Saturn gets its chance to "sideswipe" the moon at 5 a.m. on this morning. Saturn is significantly dimmer than the moon, so you may not easily see it with the naked eye. Binoculars or a small telescope will reveal the ringed planet and maybe even some of Saturn's bright moons like Titan and Enceladus.


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