M64 – The Black Eye Galaxy

M64 - The Black Eye Galaxy

M64 - The Black Eye Galaxy

M64, the Black Eye Galaxy is also known as the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy or the Evil Eye Galaxy.  There are a couple of interesting things about this spiral galaxy that lies approximately 17 million light-years away from Earth.

The first thing you notice about the Black Eye Galaxy is the stunning band of light absorbing dust in front of the very bright galactic nucleus.  It is this dark band that gives the galaxy it’s name.

If the dark band isn’t cool enough, scientists have learned that interstellar gas in the outer regions of M64 is moving in the opposite direction from the gas and stars in closer to the center of the galaxy.   Something like this shouldn’t happen!  The inner region is only about 3,000 light-years across and the outer region is about 40,000 light-years across.    New stars can be seen forming in the area where the two regions meet.

It turns out that all of this craziness was caused by a galactic collision!  About a billion years ago, M64 ran into and absorbed a smaller satellite galaxy.  This galaxy has almost been completely destroyed.  The only things left are the dark dust band and the backward rotating outer region.

M64 is a favorite with amateur astronomers because it can be seen with a relatively small telescope and is easily found in the constellation Coma Berenices.

Image Credit:  NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScl)

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5 Responses to “M64 – The Black Eye Galaxy”

  • alex calderon says:

    often during deep reflection about themes such as life on earth and it’s beings, i raise my gaze to the sky and wonder of it’s stars. maybe i often mistake my imagination for what truly lies there but i have seen light shows. stars that burn out and seem to drop in on earth. lights that gather in groups, formations that seem to try and communicate. i believe light over rides darkness. so because of so much celestial beauty, even though i lose hope or faith on beings, when i reflect and look up towards the sky, my hope, faith is restored when i see stars that twinkle, or planets that are brilliant in color. i suffer from bad eyesight but these objects at times seem to draw close. i wonder if it’s possible for these objects to try and communicate?


  • bonnie Q says:

    Whenyou look up at the stars you feel close to them because they are youoor original roots.


  • OVPET says:



  • Bob says:

    I think it is pretty cool to learn about a different galaxy. I also think these facts are really cool. If I could I would really like to see the Black Eyed Galaxy.


  • sciget nose says:

    this sight was really helpful thanks


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