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Polar-Ring Galaxy NGC 660
Optics:   Ritchey–Chrétien 20" F/8.2 (4166mm FL) Processing:   PixInsight, Photoshop
Camera:   SBIG STXL-11000 with Adaptive Optics Date:   Septmember 2019
11 Megapixel (4008 x 2672 16-bit sensor) Location:   Columbus, Texas
Exposure:   LRGB = 540:80:70:100 minutes Imager:   Kent E. Biggs
NGC 660 is a very unique polar-ring galaxy located in the direction of the constellation Pisces, the fish. A ring galaxy forms when a host galaxy captures material often from another galaxy and strings it out to form a rotating ring. Polar-ring galaxies have this ring rotate up to 90 degrees from its host. The light we see left NGC 660, 45 million years ago. The galaxy’s classification of pecular is definitely warranted as it’s shape is very unusual. It probably started out as a spiral galaxy, and most likely formed its current shape following the collision with another galaxy over a billion years ago.

The bluish ring visible here is about 45 degrees inclined with respect to the main galaxy disk which appears reddish yellow. There is active star formation along the ring of the galaxy as evident by very faint pink areas. The ring is 40-50 thousand light-years in size and is filled with red and blue supergiant stars. Astronomers have detected radio waves from the core of the central disk, which may indicate the presence of a super cluster of stars hidden within the disk. The massive amount of star formation happening in the disk designates this galaxy also as starburst galaxy.

Hover the mouse over the above image to see the galaxy core enlarged as well as a number of other faint PGC galaxies, a catalog of over a million galaxies. Below is a zoomed in and cropped image of the Polar-Ring galaxy showing it standing on end and orienting the original galaxy disk nearly horizontal.
NGC 660