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M 32

Elipticna galaksija - Elliptical Galaxy M32 (NGC 221), type E2, in andromeda

A Satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy, M31

Rektascenzija 00 : 42.7 (u:m)
Deklinacija +40 : 52 (sto:m)
Razdalja 2900 (*1000 sv.l.)
Vizual. magnituda 8.1 (mag)
Zorni kot 8x6 (loc min)

M32 is the small yet bright companion of the Great Andromeda galaxy, M31, and as such a member of the Local Group of galaxies. It is an elliptical dwarf of only about 3 billion solar masses, and a linear diameter of some 8,000 light years, very small compared to its giant spiral-shaped neighbor. Nevertheless, its nucleus is of comparable properties as that of M31: About 100 million solar masses, 5000 suns per cubic parsecs, are in rapid motion around a central supermassive object.

Near the center of this galaxy, the sky would be dominated by this object, and full with the members of this galaxy, while at the edges, only one hemisphere would be filled with them, the other showing only few outlying stars and the intergalactic space. Toward M31, this galaxy would give a fascinating view in the night sky of a virtual astronomer in the outskirts of M32.

M32 and the other bright companion of M31, M110, are the closest bright elliptical galaxies to us, therefore also the among best investigated. There are remarkable differences between these dwarf galaxies: While M32 is a typical generic elliptical, compact and of high surface brightness, M110 is much more loose, of lower surface brightness, and exposes peculiar structures; now, M110 is often classified as a dwarf spheroid instead of elliptical. Remarkably, M32 has no globular clusters (again, in difference to M110 which has 8).

M32 was the first elliptical galaxy ever discovered, by Le Gentil on October 29, 1749. Messier remarked in his description that he had first seen this object in 1757, and included M32, together with M110, in his drawing of Andromeda's "Great Nebula".

Vec posnetkov M32

Povzeto po:
Hartmut Frommert (spider@seds.org)
Christine Kronberg (smil@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)

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