5. The Sombrero Galaxy
The Sombrero Galaxy (also known as M104 or NGC 4594) is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It has a bright nucleus, an unusually large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk. The dark dust lane and the bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero. The galaxy has an apparent magnitude of +9.0, making it easily visible with amateur telescopes. The large bulge, the central supermassive black hole, and the dust lane all attract the attention of professional astronomers.
4. Black Eye Galaxy
A spiral galaxy in the Coma Berenices constellation, Messier 64, the famous “Black Eye” galaxy or the “Sleeping Beauty galaxy,” has a spectacular dark band of absorbing dust in front of the galaxy’s bright nucleus. It is well known among amateur astronomers because of its appearance in small telescopes.
3. 2MASX J00482185-2507365 occulting pair
The 2MASX J00482185-2507365 occulting pair is a pair of overlapping spiral galaxies found in the vicinity of NGC 253, the Sculptor Galaxy. Both galaxies are more distant than NGC 253, with the background galaxy, 2MASX J00482185-2507365, lying at redshift z=0.06, and the foreground galaxy lying between NGC 253 and the background galaxy (0.0008 < z < 0.06). This pair of galaxies illuminates the distribution of galactic dust beyond the visible arms of a spiral galaxy. The heretofore unexpected extent of dust beyond the starry limits of the arms, shows new areas for extragalactic astronomical study. The dusty arms extend 6 times the radii of the starry arms of the galaxy, and is shown silhouetted in HST images against the central and core sections of the background galaxy.
2. The Whirlpool Galaxy
Also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194, the Whirlpool Galaxy is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous spiral galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understanding of galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.
1. Grand spiral galaxy
Also known as NGC 123, this fascinating galaxy is dominated by millions of bright stars and dark dust, caught up in a gravitational swirl of spiral arms rotating about the center. Open clusters containing bright blue stars can be seen sprinkled along these spiral arms, while dark lanes of dense interstellar dust can be seen sprinkled between them. Less visible, but detectable, are billions of dim normal stars and vast tracts of interstellar gas, together wielding such high mass that they dominate the dynamics of the inner galaxy. Invisible are even greater amounts of matter in a form we don’t yet know – pervasive dark matter needed to explain the motions of the visible in the outer galaxy.