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Antennae Galaxies

Ring Tail Galaxies, C60 / C61, NGC 4038 / NGC 4039

Proper NamesAntennae Galaxies, Galaxies
Caldwell NumberC60
NGC/IC NumberNGC 4038 and NGC 4039
Other DesignationsPGC 37967 and PGC 37969
Right Ascension12h 2m 50s (NGC 4038)
12h 2m 51s (NGC 4039)
Declination-18° 58' 1" (NGC 4038)
-18° 59' 17" (NGC 4039)
Distance*c.45,000,000 light years
c.13,800,000 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +10.3
Absolute: -20.4
DiameterApparent: 3.4'
Actual: c.44,000 light years
Hubble TypeInteracting galaxies, both originally classified as SB-type barred spirals
Optimum VisibilityApril
NotesThis pair of galaxies are slowly colliding, sending two long tendrils of material out into intergalactic space that give the Antennae Galaxies their name. Compression of material in the inner parts of the galaxies has given rise to a starburst effect, triggering the formation of numerous new stars.

* The distance to any galaxy is difficult to measure, and it is common for different methods to yield slightly variant results. Even in that context, however, different sources cite widely varying distance estimates for the Antennae Galaxies. The figure shown above, about 45 million light years, is the most widely quoted, but other sources place these galaxies as close as 16 million light years, or as distant as 69 million.


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