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Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Universe Unriddled

Barred Spiral Galaxy Facts

Barred spiral galaxies are a fascinating subject that has garnered the attention of astronomers and stargazers alike.

These galaxies are unique in their structure and composition, making them a popular topic of discussion in the scientific community.

Edwin Hubble, the famous astronomer who the Hubble Space Telescope is named after, was the first to discover barred spiral galaxies.

Galaxies are vast collections of stars, gas, and dust that are held together by gravity.

They come in many different shapes and sizes, from elliptical to irregular. Barred spiral galaxies are a subtype of spiral galaxies, which are characterized by their spiral arms that extend out from a central bulge.

What sets barred spiral galaxies apart is the presence of a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars. This bar affects the motions of stars and interstellar gas within the galaxy and can even affect the spiral arms.

If you look up at the night sky, you may be able to see some of the many galaxies that populate our universe. Barred spiral galaxies make up about two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, so there’s a good chance that some of the galaxies you see are barred spirals.

Learning about these galaxies can help us better understand the vastness of our universe and the incredible structures that exist within it.

Barred Spiral Galaxy Basics

What is a Barred Spiral Galaxy?

A barred spiral galaxy is a type of galaxy that has a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars. This structure is surrounded by a disk of stars, and spiral arms that extend outward from the center.

The barred spiral galaxy is one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe, accounting for about two-thirds of all spiral galaxies.

Structure of a Barred Spiral Galaxy

The structure of a barred spiral galaxy is similar to that of a regular spiral galaxy, but with the addition of a central bar-shaped structure.

This bar is made up of stars, and it extends out from the center of the galaxy. The arms of the galaxy are bound to the ends of the bar, and they spiral outward from there. The disk of stars that surrounds the bar is also a characteristic feature of barred spiral galaxies.

In addition to the central bar and the spiral arms, barred spiral galaxies also have a central bulge.

This is a dense region of stars that is located at the center of the galaxy. The bulge is surrounded by a halo of dimmer stars, and it may contain a supermassive black hole.

How are Barred Spiral Galaxies Formed?

Barred spiral galaxies are thought to form as a result of density waves in the interstellar gas and dark matter halo that surrounds the galaxy.

These waves cause the gas and dust to clump together, forming new stars. As these stars form, they create a gravitational pull that causes the gas and dust to continue to clump together.

This process eventually leads to the formation of a bar-shaped structure in the center of the galaxy.

The formation of a bar can also trigger the formation of new stars in the spiral arms of the galaxy.

As the bar rotates, it creates a wave of gas and dust that moves outward from the center of the galaxy.

This wave triggers the formation of new stars in the arms of the galaxy, creating a display of starlight that is characteristic of barred spiral galaxies.

Barred spiral galaxies are solid objects that are made up of collections of stars, star clusters, and groups of stars.

They are characterized by their central bar-shaped structure, spiral arms, and disk of stars.

Barred spiral galaxies are formed as a result of density waves in the interstellar gas and dark matter halo that surrounds the galaxy, and they are the most common type of galaxy in the universe.

Barred Spiral Galaxy Facts

Barred spiral galaxies are fascinating celestial objects that have captured the attention of astronomers and stargazers alike. In this section, we will explore some interesting facts about barred spiral galaxies.

Size of Barred Spiral Galaxies

Barred spiral galaxies are typically larger than their non-barred counterparts. They can range in size from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of light-years across.

For comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years in diameter.

Location of Barred Spiral Galaxies

Barred spiral galaxies are found throughout the observable universe, but they are more common in the southern hemisphere of the sky. They are also prevalent in the part of the Milky Way galaxy that we can observe from Earth.

Barred spiral galaxies are not limited to our own galaxy, however. They can also be found in other galaxies, such as the Andromeda galaxy, which is a member of the local group of galaxies that includes our own Milky Way.

Observing Barred Spiral Galaxies

Observing barred spiral galaxies can be done with the naked eye, but they are best seen with a telescope.

Long-exposure images taken with telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope reveal stunning details of these galaxies.

One interesting feature of barred spiral galaxies is their central bar-shaped structure. This structure is composed of stars and can affect the motions of stars and interstellar gas within the galaxy. The spiral arms of barred spiral galaxies can also be affected by the central bar.

Barred spiral galaxies are fascinating celestial objects that are found throughout the local universe.

Their size and location make them an interesting subject of study for astronomers, and their unique features make them a beautiful sight to behold for stargazers.

Notable Barred Spiral Galaxies

Barred spiral galaxies are fascinating celestial objects that have a unique structure and composition. Here are some of the most notable barred spiral galaxies in the universe, each with its own distinct features and characteristics.

The Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way galaxy is the barred spiral galaxy that we call home. It is estimated to be around 13.6 billion years old and contains billions of stars, including our sun.

The central bar of the Milky Way is about 27,000 light-years long and is surrounded by four spiral arms.

The Milky Way is also home to a supermassive black hole at its center, which has a mass of around 4 million suns.

The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy

The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, also known as NGC 1365, is located in the Fornax constellation.

It is one of the largest barred spiral galaxies known to us, with a diameter of around 200,000 light-years. The central bar of the galaxy is about 30,000 light-years long and is surrounded by two prominent spiral arms.

The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy is also known for its active galactic nucleus, which emits high-energy radiation.

The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, is a barred spiral galaxy located in the Virgo constellation. It is named after its distinctive shape, which resembles a sombrero hat.

The central bulge of the galaxy is surrounded by a thick disk of dust and gas, which gives it its unique appearance. The Sombrero Galaxy is also home to a supermassive black hole at its center, which has a mass of around 1 billion suns.

The Condor Galaxy

The Condor Galaxy, also known as NGC 6872, is one of the largest barred spiral galaxies known to us. It is located in the Pavo constellation and has a diameter of around 522,000 light-years.

The central bar of the galaxy is about 26,000 light-years long and is surrounded by two prominent spiral arms. The Condor Galaxy is also known for its numerous star-forming regions, which are visible as bright blue knots throughout the galaxy.

Conclusion

The Grand Finale of Our Galactic Journey

Okay, space explorers! We’ve zoomed through the universe, surfed the stars, and now we’re coming back home.

But, don’t worry, this isn’t the end of our space odyssey! In fact, it’s just the beginning! 

Remember when we talked about all those big and small galaxies, like our home galaxy, the Milky Way, with its arms, bars, and central black hole?

Or those giant elliptical galaxies, so round and full of old stars?

And what about the spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way, with their swirling patterns of young and old stars?

We’ve seen galaxies of all shapes and sizes, from the massive to the tiny, each one a different kind of cosmic city for stars!

You probably can’t see all of them with your unaided eye, but that’s what the Hubble Telescope is for!

Thanks to this super space spyglass, we’ve been able to peek at distant past of the universe and uncover some really cool stuff!

Did you know that recent studies show that two-thirds of spiral galaxies have a bar structure at their center? And that our own Milky Way might have a large bar like that, too?

Stars are not just pretty lights in the sky. They tell stories, they move in a circular path, and sometimes, they explode into white dwarfs!

Stars are the signs of galaxies, and every galaxy has its own unique story to tell. 

And let’s not forget about those mysterious irregular galaxies, with their odd shapes and bound arms full of star clusters.

Or the lenticular galaxies, a blend of spiral and elliptical galaxies. There’s so much variety out there!

Even the spiral galaxies are different, some have a bar at the center, others have just a basic shape, and some are like a large rotating disk!

As you know the Milky Way is just one of the billions of galaxies out there! And each galaxy is filled with billions of stars! It’s like a giant cosmic dance happening over billions of light years.

William Herschel, the famous astronomer, was one of the first to realize this. He even thought the Milky Way was a ‘spiral nebula’ before we knew it was a galaxy!

We’ve learnt a lot about galaxies, haven’t we?

But there’s still so much more to explore! So, get ready for more adventures, space explorers!

Remember, each time you look up at the night sky, you’re looking at the ends of a straight bar of stars, the outer edge of the Milky Way, and the formative years of the universe!

This is just the start. Our next adventure? It could be anywhere in the universe!

So, keep reading, keep exploring, and keep reaching for the stars! The universe is waiting for us.

Are you ready?

Considering these are just a few of the notable barred spiral galaxies that exist in our universe, and that each of these galaxies has its own unique features and characteristics that make them fascinating objects to study and observe.

By studying these galaxies, astronomers can learn more about the formation and evolution of galaxies in the universe.

Let’s blast off!

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