Israeli astronomers discover 'tadpole'-shaped galaxy

A disrupted galaxy is when a galaxy's stars are incorporated into more massive galaxies or are ejected into intergalactic space. This discovery is important because of the sheer size of the galaxy.

Giant Relic of Disrupted “Tadpole” Galaxy. (photo credit: STRIPE 82 PROJECT OF THE INSTITUTO DE ASTROFISICA DE CANARIAS)
Giant Relic of Disrupted “Tadpole” Galaxy.
(photo credit: STRIPE 82 PROJECT OF THE INSTITUTO DE ASTROFISICA DE CANARIAS)
A team of astronomers from Israel, the US and Russia discovered a galaxy that resembles the shape of a tadpole on Monday.
“We have found a giant, exceptional relic of a disrupted galaxy,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Noah Brosch of the Florence and George Wise Observatory at Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
The results were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The galaxy’s shape is unique due to its tadpole-like structure. It is a barred spiral galaxy – a spiral galaxy which consists of a central bar-shaped structure made up of stars. It is also a disrupted galaxy, one whose stars are incorporated into more massive galaxies or are ejected into space. This discovery was substantial due to the object’s vast size. Additionally, the study illuminates how and why galaxies disappear.
“What makes this object extraordinary is that the tail alone is almost 500,000 light-years long,” said Prof. R. Michael Rich of UCLA, who took part in the research. The new galaxy is 10 times longer than the Milky Way, and one million light-years long from end to end.
The tadpole galaxy is about 300 million light years away from Earth.
The study was a result of collaboration between Rich; Brosch and Dr. Shuki Koriski from the Tel Aviv observatory; and Dr. Alexandr Mosenkov of St. Petersburg University.
Yafit Ovadia contributed to this report.


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