Have you ever imagined what lies beyond our Milky Way galaxy? There are countless galaxies out there, each with its own unique characteristics. Among them is an amazing galaxy known as the Cartwheel Galaxy. It’s not just another galaxy, it’s a galaxy that looks like a giant wheel in the sky. Let’s take a journey 500 million light-years away to explore the extraordinary Cartwheel Galaxy.
The Cartwheel Galaxy is a lenticular ring galaxy, a type of galaxy that has a bright central bulge surrounded by a ring-shaped disk of stars. It has a diameter of 144,300 light-years. To give you a better idea of how large it is, let’s make some comparisons:
The Cartwheel Galaxy has a fascinating structure. It’s called the Cartwheel Galaxy because it looks like a cartwheel. The outer ring of the Cartwheel Galaxy, which is where most of its stars are located, spins at an impressive speed of 217 kilometers per second! This unusual galaxy was discovered by Fritz Zwicky in 1941, and he described it as “one of the most complicated structures awaiting its explanation on the basis of stellar dynamics.” Even today, scientists are still trying to understand the complex dynamics of this galaxy. The Cartwheel Galaxy is not alone in space. It is the main member of the Cartwheel Galaxy group, which consists of four physically associated spiral galaxies. The other three galaxies in this group are referred to as G1, G2, and G3.
In November 2021, a type II supernova, named SN 2021afdx, was discovered in the Cartwheel Galaxy. A supernova is a powerful and bright explosion of a star. This discovery adds another fascinating chapter to the story of the Cartwheel Galaxy.
The Cartwheel Galaxy is a fascinating celestial object. Its unique structure, its size compared to other galaxies, and the recent discovery of a supernova make it a point of interest for astronomers and space enthusiasts. So, the next time you look up at the night sky and wonder what’s out there, remember the Cartwheel Galaxy, a giant wheel spinning in the vastness of the universe.
Be the first to get exclusive offers and the latest news