Messier 95

Messier 95 (aka M95 or NGC 3351) is a barred spiral galaxy located about 33 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. It has an an inner ring that surrounds the bar. The ring is star-forming region with a diameter of approximately 2,000 light-years, and the spiral arms extend outward from the ring.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

NGC 1483

ngc-1483-smallNGC 1483 us a barred spiral galaxy a bit over 60 million light-years away.  Barred spiral galaxies are so named because of the prominent bar-shaped structures found in their center. Roughly two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, are barred. It’s been suggested that bars may be a common stage in the formation of spiral galaxies and may indicate that a galaxy has reached full maturity.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy

NGC 1365NGC 1365 is enormous. It is one of the largest galaxies known to astronomers—over 200,000 light-years across. This, plus the sharply defined bar of old stars across its structure is why it is also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy. Astronomers believe that the Milky Way, which is only half as big, may look very similar to this galaxy. The bright centre of the galaxy is thought to be caused by huge amounts of superhot gas ejected from the ring of material circling a central black hole. Young luminous hot stars, born in the interstellar clouds, give the arms their blue color. The bar and spiral pattern rotates, with one full turn taking about 350 million years. NGC 1365 is about 61 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax (the Furnace).

Image Credit: ESO

A Dwarf Galaxy

NGC 5949 is a dwarf galaxy around 44 million light-years from us. NGC 5949 is a relatively bulky example of a dwarf galaxy with a mass of about one percent of the Milk Way’s. It’s classified as a dwarf because of its relatively small number of constituent stars, but with loosely-bound spiral arms it is also classified as a barred spiral galaxy.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA