Hubble’s double galaxy gaze: Leda and NGC 4424

Date:

Share post:

Some astronomical objects have endearing or quirky nicknames, inspired by mythology or their own appearance. Take, for example, the constellation of Orion (The Hunter), the Sombrero Galaxy, the Horsehead Nebula, or even the Milky Way. However, the vast majority of cosmic objects appear in astronomical catalogs and are given rather less poetic names based on the order of their discovery.

Hubble's double galaxy gaze: Leda and NGC 4424
Two galaxies are clearly visible in this Hubble image, the larger of which is NGC 4424. The smaller, flatter, 
bright galaxy sitting just below NGC 4424 is named LEDA 213994 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA]

Two galaxies are clearly visible in this Hubble image, the larger of which is NGC 4424. This galaxy is cataloged in the New General Catalog of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (NGC), which was compiled in 1888. The NGC is one of the largest astronomical catalogs, which is why so many Hubble Pictures of the Week feature NGC objects. In total there are 7,840 entries in the catalog and they are also generally the larger, brighter, and more eye-catching objects in the night sky, and hence the ones more easily spotted by early stargazers.

The smaller, flatter, bright galaxy sitting just below NGC 4424 is named LEDA 213994. The Lyon-Meudon Extragalactic Database (LEDA) is far more modern than the NGC and contains millions of objects.

Many NGC objects still go by their initial names simply because they were christened within the NGC first. However, since astronomers can’t resist a good acronym and “Leda” is more appealing than “the LMED,” the smaller galaxy is called “Leda.” Leda was a princess in Ancient Greek mythology.

Author: Karl Hille | Source: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center [March 31, 2017]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Chemistry in the turbulent interstellar medium

Over 200 molecules have been discovered in space, some (like Buckminsterfullerene) very complex with carbon atoms. Besides being...

Explosive birth of stars swells galactic cores

Astronomers found that active star formation upswells galaxies, like yeast helps bread rise. Using three powerful telescopes on...

Distant galaxies and the true nature of dark matter

At the centre of spiral galaxies -- those near to us but also those billions of light-years away...

Underground experiment may unlock mysteries of the neutrino

In the biggest result of its kind in more than ten years, physicists have made the most sensitive...

Nitrogen in ancient rocks a sign of early life

Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients of life on Earth, with some organisms, such as the kinds...

Scientists discover a new type of pulsating star

Scientists can tell a lot about a star by the light it gives off. The color, for example,...

Dark matter may be hitting the right note in small galaxies

Dark matter may scatter against each other only when they hit the right energy, say researchers in Japan,...

Is the Milky Way an ‘outlier’ galaxy? Studying its ‘siblings’ for clues

The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as "typical" as previously...