NGC 2685

Alt. Designations: NGC 2685
Object Type: barred spiral galaxy
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: 40 mly
Right Ascension: 08h 55m 34.9s
Declination: +58° 44´ 05"
Visual Magnitude: 11.2
Apparent Dimension: 4.6´ X 2.5´
Best Month To View: Mar

NGC 2685 is a confirmed polar ring galaxy - a rare type of galaxy with stars, gas and dust orbiting in rings perpendicular to the plane of a flat galactic disk. The bizarre configuration could be caused by the chance capture of material from another galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris strung out in a rotating ring. Still, observed properties of NGC 2685 suggest that the rotating ring structure is remarkably old and stable. In this fascinating view of the peculiar system also known as the Helix galaxy, the strange, perpendicular rings are easy to trace as they pass in front of the galactic disk, along with other disturbed outer structures. NGC 2685 is about 50,000 light-years across and 40 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.