The Black Eye is actually one of the lesser known galaxies if you compare it to some of the larger galaxies in our universe. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive, and it definitely has an interesting appearance. It’s a perfect place to start if you’re just getting started with amateur astronomy. Let’s look at some facts about the Black Eye galaxy.
Black Eye Galaxy Facts
- The Black Eye galaxy has an estimated radius of 26,500 light years. This means that it’s just a little smaller than the Triangulum galaxy, but it’s less than a quarter of the size of a larger galaxy like Andromeda.
- It is estimated to be around 17 million light years away from our planet Earth.
- You can find the Black Eye galaxy in the Coma Berenices constellation. It is located to the North East of the Alpha star in this constellation, called Diadem.
- English astronomer Edward Piggott is attributed with discovering the star back in 1779. However, Charlies Messier independently discovered it a year later and added it to his Messier catalog.
- It wasn’t until 1785 that it was named the Black Eye galaxy by William Herschel, the founder of Uranus.
- For this reason, you’ll see this galaxy referred to as M64, as it is number 64 in the catalog. It is also referred to as the Evil Eye galaxy, for obvious reasons, and the Sleeping Beauty galaxy too.
- The interstellar medium of this galaxy is actually made up of two discs made up of dust that are rotating in opposite directions, which we call retrograde motion.
- Astronomers estimate that there are around 100 billion stars in the Black Eye galaxy, which is more than ten times the amount of the Large Magellanic cloud.
- They also think it is likely that the Black Eye galaxy is the result of a collision between two different galaxies – this main explain its strange structure.
- This galaxy is most well known for its band of dust across the front of it, which gives it a very unique eye appearance.
Common Questions about the Black Eye Galaxy
What type of galaxy is the Black Eye galaxy?
If you’re wondering about what type of galaxy the Black Eye is, then it’s actually a form of spiral galaxy. It may not look like other spiral galaxies because the arms of the Black Eye galaxy are very tightly wound. Although originally astronomers have said that there is no bar at the center of this galaxy, in more recent years they have said that there is a weak bar running across it’s center. However, this is not enough for it to classify as a barred spiral galaxy.
How can I see the Black Eye galaxy?
If you’re trying to get a good view of the Black Eye galaxy, then you’re going to need a telescope. You don’t need anything expensive, just a good basic telescope should do the trick. You can see the Black Eye galaxy throughout the year from the Northern hemisphere.
How far away is the Black Eye galaxy?
If you’re wondering just how far away the Black Eye galaxy is, then astronomers aren’t 100% sure. However, they have put an estimate of around 17 million light years distance from us.
Who discovered the Black Eye galaxy?
The very first person to write about the Black Eye galaxy was Edward Piggott. However, coincidentally it was also written about by German astronomer Johann Elert Bode less than a month later, completely independently from Piggott.
All in all, the Black Eye (or Evil Eye) galaxy is a good object to look for if you’re just getting to grips with astronomy. It is very unique in its appearance, and although it’s not the largest galaxy, it is still quite easy to locate within Coma Berenices. Hopefully you’ve learned something new!