Location of Photo:
Siding Spring Observatory Australia
Date/Time of photo:
PlaneWave Instruments CDK 20"; FLI-PL09000 (Remote Astronomy Via iTelescope)
NGC 3521 is a spiral galaxy 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo. It belongs to a class of galaxies known as flocculent spirals. Unlike galaxies with well-defined spiral arms, this galaxy has many small, patchy spiral arms, giving it a woolly appearance. Remarkably, this galaxy is enshrouded by a gigantic bubble-like shell. The shell is made of debris and star streams that once belonged to small satellite galaxies. They were torn apart by tidal forces and devoured by NGC3521 (this process is vividly called “galactic cannibalism”). The remaining became the ghostly shell.