The spiral limb of the galaxy NGC 772, which was established by tidal interactions with a violent neighbor, overpowers this observation made by astronomers utilizing the Gemini North telescope, located close to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i. Galaxy NGC 772’s bizarre appearance has earned it a spot as the 78th entry in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a rogues’ gallery of strange and wondrous galaxy structures.
NGC 772 does not have a bright central bar. Other spiral galaxies like the Andromeda Galaxy or our own Milky Way show distinguished main bars, which are large, linear structures composed of gas, dust, and countless stars. Without a bar, NGC 772’s spiral arms sweep out instantly from the galaxy’s bright center.
The galaxy’s extraordinary appearance has earned it the reputation of appearing in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a careful curation by astronomer Halton Arp of some of the weird and fabulous galaxies colonizing the Universe. The 338 galaxies in the Atlas are a rogues’ gallery of strange and extraordinary galaxy shapes selected to provide astronomers with a manual of odd galaxy structures.
While NGC 772’s traits dominate this image, there is moreover a menagerie of galaxies lurking in the background. The bright stains and smudges littering this image are entirely distant galaxies . a few closer examples can be settled into characteristic spiral shapes. In all directions in the sky, astronomers have directed the telescopes toward a rich carpet of galaxies, with nearly 2 trillion galaxies estimated in total in our observable Universe.