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Discovery Puts a New Spin on Spiral Galaxies

University of Alabama astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a spiral galaxy that may be spinning to the beat of a different drummer. The galaxy, called NGC 4622, is rotating in the opposite direction from what astronomers had expected, the team said last week. The vast majority of spiral galaxies have outer arms of gas and stars that trail behind as the galaxies rotate. NGC 4622’s arms point toward the direction of the galaxy’s clockwise spin. The galaxy also has a trailing inner arm that is wrapped around the galaxy in the opposite direction. The researchers speculate that NGC 4622 was formed when two galaxies collided, producing its unusual characteristics. More information is available at heritage.stsci.edu.

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From Times Staff and Wire Reports


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