No Galaxy Spins Faster


At least, none we know of. Behold: UGC 12951. Nice. But what is it? A spiral galaxy with its rings of dark dust lanes? Or a lenticular galaxy with its great bulging diffusion of stars? Maybe a bit of both. To wit:

Surprisingly observations show that UGC 12591 spins at about 480 km/sec, almost twice as fast as our Milky Way, and the fastest rotation rate yet measured. The mass needed to hold together a galaxy spinning this fast is several times the mass of our Milky Way Galaxy. Progenitor scenarios for UGC 12591 include slow growth by accreting ambient matter, or rapid growth through a recent galaxy collision or collisions — future observations may tell. The light we see today from UGC 12591 left about 400 million years ago, when trees were first developing on Earth.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing & Copyright: Leo Shatz)


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