Irregular Galaxy NGC 1427A – Hubble Telescope – 2003

Irregular Galaxy

In this section of our pictures of galaxies we present pictures of irregular galaxies.

An irregular galaxy, as the name would suggest, is a galaxy that does not have a regular shape like an elliptical galaxy or a spiral galaxy.  Typically, an irregular galaxy has been deformed by some type of unusual gravitational interaction or situation.  This category may represent approximately one quarter of all galaxies.

Our presentation of an irregular galaxy is based on Hubble images of NGC 1427A taken in 2003.  This irregular galaxy is approximately 62 million light years away in the direction of the constellation Fornax.  It appears that NGC 1427A is being drawn into the Fornax cluster of galaxies.  As it moves into the cluster, the collision of gases leads to the formation of many new stars.  Within the picture, the new stars give a blue hue and an arrowhead shape to the galaxy pointing in the direction of its travel.  It is believed that as NCG 1427A travels further into the cluster it will eventually be completely destroyed.

These irregular galaxy pictures provide an illustration of the ongoing cycle of stellar renewal, powered by gravity, with new stars arising from the destruction of a galaxy.