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Galaxy NGC 1313

constellation: Reticulum
Distance 15 Million Light Years

text copyright Robert Gendler

NGC 1313 bears resemblance to the Magellanic Clouds, the disturbed dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. It is also known as a starburst galaxy evidenced by clouds of brilliant and massive blue stars scattered throughout its thick gas-dense disk which spans about 50,000 light years. Although it has an obvious barred center its form is rather disturbed and asymmetric. The source of the distorted disk is not known as NGC 1313 is an isolated spiral and it is unlikely to have undergone any recent gravitational interactions with other galaxies. The spiral arms are rich in HII regions indicating a high rate of star formation. Marcelin and Gondoin (1983) cataloged 375 individual HII regions in NGC 1313 testament to its high rate of star formation. NGC 1313 is also rich in powerful Wolf Rayet stars of which 70 candidates have been detected. NGC 1313 is known for two ultra-luminous X-Ray sources. One source, NGC 1313 X-2 is one the brightest X-Ray sources in the sky. It is most likely powered by an invisible but powerful intermediate sized black hole having the mass of a 1000 suns. All in all NGC 1313 is not your traditional spiral galaxy but an intriguingly complex star making machine.