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Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy Discovered

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the biggest-there-is dept.

Space 27

littlesparkvt writes "The spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has ranked among the biggest stellar systems for decades. Now a team of astronomers from the United States, Chile and Brazil has crowned it the largest-known spiral galaxy, based on archival data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission."

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27 comments

So where's the antispiral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42555407)

Seriously, their home planet's got to be somewhere nearby. We're in for a good show!

Re:So where's the antispiral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42557149)

Considering that the antispiral ended up just being a really big spiral, this might be it.

Long Galaxy is Long. (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42555411)

Link to more Nasa's images. [nasa.gov]
TFA says the elongated shape is likely do to interaction with a neighboring galaxy, which may have also spawned a nearby dwarf galaxy; Both visible primarily thanks to the ultraviolet instrumentation.

The tidal dwarf candidate is brighter in the ultraviolet than other
regions of the galaxy, a sign it bears a rich supply of hot young
stars less than 200 million years old.

Hmm, Sounds about like Hollywood...

Largest = longest (4, Informative)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year ago | (#42555441)

To clarify, this does not mean the most massive spiral galaxy found, it means the longest.

Re:Largest = longest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42555851)

Also, this does not mean the largest quasar, but spiral galaxy.

Thinking about the scale of the universe and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42555469)

JESUS CHRIST that's huge!!!

Re:Thinking about the scale of the universe and... (1, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about a year ago | (#42555541)

That's what she said!

Re:Thinking about the scale of the universe and... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42555615)

Sadly, she was looking out the window when she said it.

Largest known... (3)

skandalfo (623756) | about a year ago | (#42555563)

Now just don't bother me until they discover an UNKNOWN one.

Re:Largest known... (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#42558001)

Yeah, neither the submitter nor the editor can have much interest in astronomy, or they'd known that this galaxy wasn't discovered now.
Just the NGC number being this low should have alerted them.

For what it's worth, it was discovered by John F. W. Herschel in 1835 (Herschel catalog number 3816), and there are dozens of publications about it over the years.

Re:Largest known... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42560779)

Great... When there is a headline more like, "Largest spiral galaxy discovered," we get people complaining that it can't be the largest galaxy in the universe because astronomers have only looked at a small fraction of them. When the word "know" is explicitly included instead of implied, we now get people complaining about that too. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Only a spiral (4, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#42555667)

The largest known elliptical galaxy IC 1101 [wikipedia.org] has a diameter of 6 million light years.

Re:Only a spiral (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | about a year ago | (#42556339)

To be fair, IC 1101 is disturbed due to all of the collisions by those little galaxies the size of the Milky Way colliding into it.

Re:Only a spiral (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42556349)

The giant elliptical galaxies probably form from mergers of spiral galaxies (gravitational interactions smear out all the nice spiral patterns, and you're left with a featureless blob), so it's not surprising that the largest elliptical is larger than the largest spiral.

Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy Discovered (2)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about a year ago | (#42555761)

Yeah, right. What'll they say when they find out what's really out there is a giant fun-house convex mirror pointing right back at our galaxy?

THEN we'll finally get around to losing that weight that the galaxy's put on.

Quickly, get the news out (4, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | about a year ago | (#42555825)

Re:Quickly, get the news out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42557277)

That is indeed cool news!
Now the question: is this an actual structure (i.e., gravitationally bonded together), or is it merely the appearance of one?
My astrophysics isn't quite up to scratch for getting this from The Fine Article [oxfordjournals.org] in a quick glance.

Re:Quickly, get the news out (1)

BigBunion (2578693) | about a year ago | (#42557435)

"'Even travelling at the speed of light, it would take 4 billion light years to cross"

...

In a press release from The Royal Astronomical Society??? facepalm...

Re:Quickly, get the news out (1)

Punko (784684) | about a year ago | (#42558673)

On the upside, if you were the observer travelling at the speed of light, it would not seem like 4 Billion years to travel.

Upper limit on size? (1)

czarv10 (1804556) | about a year ago | (#42557661)

Does anyone know if there's an upper limit on the size of a spiral? It would have to be limited by the size of it's dark matter halo, correct? Had a brief stint in cosmology in grad school, still find this stuff cool.

Image Quality (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year ago | (#42562945)

I know this is a composite image, but there's some seriously crappy editing in the upper-left quadrant of the image. Still, cool stuff.

Horribly formatted article (1)

Daniel Klugh (1935646) | about a year ago | (#42572681)

What's with all of the hard line breaks in the original article? I end up with the last word (or so) of every sentence on a line by itself. They put a <BR> at the end of every physical line of the source HTML.
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