Space is weird but we also give objects in space some strange names. Here’s Star Name Registry’s list of the weirdest named galaxies. Enjoy!
1) The Tadpole Galaxy
The Tadpole galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy which is located approximately 420 million light years away in the constellation Draco. It’s distinctive “tail” was likely created when another galaxy passed in front of it. The tidal forces created by this encounter would have pulled stars out away creating this shape. It’s also likely that in the future the galaxy will lose this tail as it gradually coalesces into smaller satellites of the main galaxy.
2) The Whirlpool Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy – also called NGC 5194 – is a spiral galaxy which is located over 20 million light years away from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was believed to be a nebula until Edwin Hubble was able to prove it was, in fact, another galaxy. The galaxy’s very pronounced spiral shape is theorized to be due to the influence of its companion galaxy NGC 5195.
3) The Porpoise Galaxy
The Porpoise Galaxy – also known as the Penguin galaxy – is believed to once have been a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way before it was ripped apart by its companion galaxy. You can see what is likely to have been its galactic center at the top left, making up the “eye” of the Porpoise.
4) The Sunflower Galaxy
The Sunflower Galaxy is a spiral galaxy which is located 27 million light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was discovered in 1779 by the astronomer Pierre Mechain. It is best visible from Earth in the months of March, April and May.
5) The Sombrero Galaxy is an unbarred spiral galaxy which is located approximately 31 million light years away in the constellation Virgo. It is much smaller than our Milky Way galaxy and is estimated to be only 30% of its size with a diameter of 50,000 light years. It is believed that there is a super massive black hole lurking in its center.
6) The Cigar Galaxy
The Cigar Galaxy is locates approximately 12 million light years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is estimated to be about five times as luminous as our Milky Way galaxy and is classified as a “starburst” galaxy”. Starburst galaxies are galaxies which are experiencing a high level of star formation. It is believed that this galaxy had a recent encounter with its neighbour which both deformed it and pushed a large amount of gas into its center, resulting in its current period of rapid star formation.
7) The Black Eye Galaxy
The Black Eye Galaxy – also known as the Evil Eye Galaxy – is located 24 million light years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is a spiral galaxy, though what is odd is that the central disk rotates in a different direction to the rest of the galaxy. This is believed to be the result of a collision at some point in this galaxy’s past.
8) The Cartwheel Galaxy
The Cartwheel galaxy is located about 500 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor. It is believed that it was once a spiral galaxy before another galaxy collided with it approximately 200 million years prior to this image.