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8260Re: M51 and NGC 5195...interacting!

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  • Jerry Truitt
    May 5, 2009
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      The textbook spiral structure is thought be the result of an interaction
      M51 is experiencing with its close galactic neighbor, NGC 5195. Some
      simulations suggest M51's sharp spiral shape was partially caused when
      NGC 5195 passed through its main disk about 500 million years ago. This
      gravitational tug of war may also have triggered an increased level of
      star formation in M51. The companion galaxy's pull would be inducing
      extra starbirth by compressing gas, jump-starting the process by which
      stars form.


      --- In delmarvastargazers@yahoogroups.com, don surles <don.surles@...>
      > and it seems M51 and NGC 5195 are interacting:
      > http://www.nightskyinfo.com/archive/whirlpool_galaxy/
      > "Don't overlook M51's companion, NGC 5195, which apparently Messier
      > when he observed M51 in 1773. Conspicuous in the small telescope, this
      > satellite system gives the appearance of being attached to the north
      > spiral arm of M51. This bridge between the two galaxies is actually an
      > optical illusion - a spiral arm of M51 is superimposed on NGC 5195
      > NGC 5195 actually lying on the far side of M51 (by perhaps 1/2 million
      > light years), although the two galaxies have had one or more close
      > encounters in the past."
      > Don...
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