When it comes to universe, there is no scarcity of objects that can fascinate us and leave our jaws dropped. Here is another such thing – the Tadpole Galaxy. In this article on Tadpole galaxy facts we will learn a few things about this galaxy and try to understand what makes this galaxy so special.

Galaxy NameTadpole Galaxy, PGC 57129, Arp 188, UGC 10214
Galaxy TypeBarred Spiral Galaxy
Striking FeatureA massive tail (trail) of stars that gives it the appearance of a tadpole
DiscoverySimilar tadpole galaxies were first discovered in 1990s but were too facts (billions of light years away) to be studied. Later several people discovered these types of galaxies in close vicinity (within 600 million light years from Earth) and studied them.
Distance from Earth~ 420 million light years
Apparent Magnitude14.4
Diameter390,000 light years or 120 kiloparsec or 3.2 arcminutes
Trail or Tail Length280,000 light years
Mass of GalaxyNot Available

Tadpole Galaxy Facts: 1-5

1. The Tadpole Galaxy is located towards a norther constellation known as Draco Constellation.

2. This galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy but is actually disrupted. The disruption was caused by a smaller intruder galaxy that interacted with the Tadpole Galaxy approximately 100 million years ago.

3. According to astronomers, a smaller compact galaxy (the intruder galaxy) passed or crossed from in front of the Tadpole Galaxy from left to right.

4. Because of the mutual gravitational interaction of the two galaxies, the smaller intruder galaxy was slung around behind the UGC 10214. Scientists say that the intruder galaxy is currently some 300,000 light years behind the Tadpole Galaxy and it can be seen right through upper left foreground spiral arms of the Tadpole.

5. When this happened, the smaller intruder galaxy managed to pull out dust and stars from the spiral galaxy, creating a long trail.

Tadpole Galaxy Facts: 6-10

6. The trail or tail created by this close interaction turned out to be very long. According to astronomers, this trail is around 280,000 light years long.

7. The interaction resulted in creation of numerous young stars and clusters of stars. These young blue stars and the clusters of stars can be seen in the arms of the spiral head of the Tadpole Galaxy.

8. Such new stars and also the clusters of stars can be seen in it tail of the Tadpole Galaxy.

9. The blue stars that are found in the Arp 188 are really massive compared to our very own Sun. They are actually at least a million times brighter and at least 10 times hotter compared to our Sun.

10. The cluster of stars that are found both in the spiral head’s arms and the long trail consist of about a million of stars.

Tadpole Galaxy Facts: 11-15

11. Astronomers say that the clusters of stars will eventually become redder and redder as they age. The reason is that the biggest bluest stars will quickly burn out their fuel and will gradually become red.

12. As per experts, these star clusters will eventually turn into old globular clusters and will sit in the halo of the Tadpole Galaxy. In this context it makes sense to say that such old globular clusters are found in almost every galaxy including our very own Milky Way.

13. The trail of the Tadpole has something interesting. There are two very bright blue star clusters in trail. These two clusters are separated by a ‘Gap’. Actually, the space between the two clusters are not absolutely empty. That section or the ‘Gap’ is just way too faint.

14. These two star clusters in the trail will very likely turn into dwarf galaxies and they will orbit in the halo of the Tadpole Galaxy.

15. Scientists hold the opinion that the trail or the tail of the Tadpole will eventually be fall back into the galaxy. This means that all the gas and dust and the stars will eventually get back into the Tadpole. When that happens, a whole new episode of star birth will triggered.

Tadpole Galaxy Facts: 16-20

16. Here is something really interesting. While it may not have the shape of a typical spiral galaxy like our Milky Way, the Tadpole is still a spiral galaxy and it rotates pretty much the same way as other spiral galaxies do.

17. A closer study of the Tadpole has revealed something very interesting. The central region of the galaxy where most of the stars are found is not rich in oxygen. This is unusual. What really happens is that for all galaxies, the stars in the central region makes oxygen and the oxygen is released when the stars explode.

18. The Tadpole Galaxy has more oxygen in its tail or the trail compared to the head or the true spiral part of the galaxy.

19. According to Scientific American, Tadpole Galaxy is a primitive creature where oxygen-poor primordial gas slammed into the galactic disk, triggering the formation of stars which lit up the head of the Tadpole but had little oxygen.

20. IBM Research’s Bruce Elmegreen says that it is possible that billions of years ago, giant spiral galaxies such us our Milky Way and Andromeda started off in the same way, collecting gas, creating the spinning disks and creating stars to eventually become Galactic Superpowers.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Image Credit: NASA

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