It’s an outrageously big Universe we live in, and chances are equally big that we will never discover all of its mysteries. However, it’s worth researching as much as possible, because humanity had discovered things more wonderful and wild about our reality than any of us could’ve ever imagined.
One discovery is the NGC 4490 galaxy (aka the “Cocoon Galaxy”). You can easily guess why they called it like that – it has a double nucleus, which is an odd thing especially for a small galaxy like this one. NGC 4490 is less than 20% the size of our Milky Way.
30 million light-years away from us
The weirdly shaped galaxy is located pretty close to us, speaking in terms of astronomical scaling. “Only” 30 million light-years is the distance you have to travel somehow if you want to reach it.
However, NGC 4490 is not actually a newfound galaxy. An astronomer named Allen Lawrence chose to pick up a system studied since over half a century ago – the collision between two galaxies. One of them is the above mentioned NGC 4490, and the other one was NGC 4485. Furthermore, infrared images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer had revealed that the larger galaxy dubbed NGC 4490 could have a rare double nucleus.
Astronomers weren’t completely sure about the double nucleus until it came out the work of Curtis Struck, a professor of physics and astronomy; Iowa State’s Charles Kerton, another professor of physics and astronomy; as well as East Tennessee State University’s Beverly Smith, also a professor of physics and astronomy. Their research paper will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
The new findings reveal that both nuclei are about the same size and mass and that NGC 4490 is none other than the outcome of a collision between two smaller galaxies. Furthermore, awaiting new info in the far future regarding the NGC 4490 galaxy is a thing to look out for. Who knows what treasures could there be dwelling there?