Hubble's double galaxy gaze: Leda and NGC 4424
Some astronomical objects have endearing or quirky nicknames, inspired by mythology or their own appearance. Take, for example, the constellation of Orion (The Hunter), the Sombrero Galaxy, the Horsehead Nebula, or even the Milky Way. However, the vast majority of cosmic objects appear in astronomical catalogs and are given rather less poetic names based on the order of their discovery.
|Two galaxies are clearly visible in this Hubble image, the larger of which is NGC 4424. The smaller, flatter, |
bright galaxy sitting just below NGC 4424 is named LEDA 213994 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA]
The smaller, flatter, bright galaxy sitting just below NGC 4424 is named LEDA 213994. The Lyon-Meudon Extragalactic Database (LEDA) is far more modern than the NGC and contains millions of objects.
Many NGC objects still go by their initial names simply because they were christened within the NGC first. However, since astronomers can't resist a good acronym and "Leda" is more appealing than "the LMED," the smaller galaxy is called "Leda." Leda was a princess in Ancient Greek mythology.
Author: Karl Hille | Source: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center [March 31, 2017]