The “Black Eye” galaxy, also known as M64 and more officially as NGC 4826, stands out because of a dark band of dusty debris that spreads out across one side of a brilliant nucleus. The gas in the non-stellar outer reaches rotates in the opposite direction from gas in the inner regions, possibly suggesting a merger with a gas-rich galaxy in the distant past. New stars are forming where the counter-rotating gas collides. Discovered by English astronomer Edward Pigott in 1779, NGC 4826 is located some 17 million light years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices and is a familiar target for amateur astronomers. This spectacular view was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
This galaxy, known as NGC 2337, resides 25 million light-years away in the high northern constellation of Lynx. NGC 2337 is an irregular galaxy, meaning that it lacks a distinct, symmetrical appearance. The galaxy was discovered in 1877 by the French astronomer Édouard Stephan who, in the same year, discovered the galactic group Stephan’s Quintet.
It may be famous for hosting the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and 47 Tucanae, the second brightest globular cluster in the night sky, but the southern constellation of Tucana (The Toucan) also possesses a variety of unsung cosmic beauties. One such beauty is NGC 299, an open star cluster located within the SMC just under 200,000 light-years away.