The US and NASA Space Hubble Space Telescope has discovered UGC 2885, the largest spiral galaxy ever recorded.
This galaxy, about 232 million light-years away, is in the northern constellation Perseus. Not only is it massive, the UGC 2885 also contains a supermassive black hole in the center.
With a diagonal of 463,000 light-years, UGC 2885 is about 2.5 times wider than our own Milky Way Galaxy, with a stellar number of about one trillion, 10 times more than we do.
Galaxy UGC 2885 is 2.5 times larger than our own Milky Way galaxy.(Photo: Louisville University).
Due to its enormous size, UGC 2885 is nicknamed "the Godzilla galaxy" by the NASA (the monster in the film of the same name, though this galaxy is "gentle" when it has never collided with any large galaxies). Researchers at the University of Kentucky are analyzing its enormous size.
Benne Holwerda, the astronomer responsible for research on UGC 2885, admits it is impossible to know why this galaxy is so large.
"It was as if you created a spiral galaxy that did not collide anything in space," Holwerda said.
UGC 2885 has been known to professionals for decades. Its orbit has been measured by astronomer Vera Rubin (1928-2016) since the 1980s to study dark matter. In honor of Rubin, Holwerda calls this galaxy his own name.
The results were presented by Holwerda and colleagues on January 5 at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Hawaii.
Some large galaxies swallow smaller galaxies over time to increase in size, the Milky Way, for example, is Rubin (UGC 2885) similar?
According to Holwerda, no known "swallowing" galaxies involving Rubin have been discovered until now. His team is analyzing giant globular clusters to find the answer.
The work is supported by images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. In the future, researchers can use the James Webb telescope to analyze the central part of the galaxy as well as the globular cluster population. Wide-field infrared survey telescopes (WFIRST) can give more detailed information about this population.