Mike Wall is spacing out calling our attention to Largest Spiral Galaxy Is Five Times Bigger Than Milky Way, NGC 6872 Study Suggests. Scientist have just declared NGC 6872 the largest "known" spiral galaxy in the universe.
The title-holder is now NGC 6872, a barred spiral found 212 million light-years away in the southern constellation Pavo, researchers announced today (Jan. 10). The distance between NGC 6872's two huge spiral arms is 522,000 light-years, compared to about 100,000 light-years for the Milky Way.
Although we've known for decades that NGC 6872 was one of the largest known spiral galaxies, new data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft, aka GALEX provided the information needed to crown it number one. .
"Without GALEX's ability to detect the ultraviolet light of the youngest, hottest stars, we would never have recognized the full extent of this intriguing system," lead scientist Rafael Eufrasio, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Catholic University of America, said in a statement. [Photos: 65 All-Time Great Galaxy Hits]
Eufrasio presented the results today at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, Calif. He stressed that spirals bigger than NGC 6872 may be out there, still waiting to be spotted and studied in depth.
The $150 million project, GALEX, set up to study star formation, is no longer funded by NASA as of February 2011. The California Institute of Technology has been continuing the mission with private funds.
As long as we are talking about galaxies please check out these amazing photos the staff at www.Space.com has assembled of their nominations for the 65 greatest galaxy photos of all time in Gallery: 65 All-Time Great Galaxy Hits. Here are a view of my favorites. Please vote for you favorite in the poll.
So there you have the candidates. Please vote for you favorite.
4:42 PM PT: A special thanks to all those who recommended this post as it put me over 33,000 accumulated recs.