NGC 3447


Some galaxies are hard to classify. The more diffuse and patchy blue glow covering the right side of the image above is known as NGC 3447B. The smaller clump to the upper left is known as NGC 3447A. The pair are know collectively as NGC 3447.

The two are so close that they are strongly influenced and distorted by the gravitational forces between them, causing the galaxies to twist themselves into unusual  shapes seen here. Astronomers are unsure what the originals shapes of the two galaxies were before they encountered each other. NGC 3447A appears to display the remnants of a central bar structure and some disrupted spiral arms, both properties characteristic of certain spiral galaxies. NGC 3447B may also have been spiral galaxy, or it may have been an irregular galaxy.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

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