Coordinates: Sky map 10h 03m 06.9s, −26° 09′ 34″

NGC 3109

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NGC 3109
NGC 3109 GALEX WikiSky.jpg
NGC 3109 by GALEX (ultraviolet)
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension10h 03m 06.9s[1]
Declination−26° 09′ 34″[1]
Redshift403 ± 1 km/s[1]
Distance4.338 ± 0.3 Mly (1.33 ± 0.08 Mpc)[2][3]
Apparent magnitude (V)10.4[1]
Apparent size (V)19′.1 × 3′.7[1]
Other designations
UGCA 194, PGC, 29128,[1] h 3221, GC 2003[4]

NGC 3109 is a small barred Magellanic type spiral or irregular galaxy around 4.34 Mly away in the direction of the constellation of Hydra. NGC 3109 is believed to be tidally interacting with the dwarf elliptical galaxy Antlia Dwarf.[5] It was discovered by John Herschel on March 24, 1835 while he was in what is now South Africa.[4]

Size and morphology[edit]

NGC 3109 is classified as a Magellanic type irregular galaxy,[6] but it may in fact be a small spiral galaxy. If it is a spiral galaxy, it would be the smallest in the Local Group.[7] NGC 3109 has a mass of about 2.3×109 times the mass of the Sun, of which 20% is in the form of neutral hydrogen.[8] It is oriented edge-on from our point of view, and may contain a disk and a halo.[7] The disk appears to be composed of stars of all ages, whereas the halo contains only very old and metal-poor stars.[9] NGC 3109 does not appear to possess a galactic nucleus.[8]

From measurements of the neutral atomic hydrogen in the galaxy, it has been found that the disk of NGC 3109 is warped. The warp has the same radial velocity as gas in the Antlia Dwarf galaxy, indicating that the two galaxies had a close encounter approximately one billion years ago.[10]


Based on spectroscopy of blue supergiants in NGC 3109, it is known that the galaxy has a low metallicity, similar to that to the Small Magellanic Cloud.[11] It is one of the most metal-poor galaxies in the Local group.[12] NGC 3109 seems to contain an unusually large number of planetary nebulae for its luminosity.[13] It also contains a substantial amount of dark matter.[14]

Galaxy NGC 3109, by Hubble Space Telescope.


NGC 3109 is located about 1.33 megaparsecs (4.3 Mly) away, in the constellation Hydra. This puts it at the very outskirts of the Local Group.[11] Its membership of the Local Group has been questioned, because it seems to be receding faster than estimates of the Local Group's escape velocity.[15] It is distant enough from the largest members of the Local Group that it has not been tidally influenced by them.[12]

NGC 3109 and ΛCDM[edit]

The high radial velocity of NGC 3109 for its position poses a severe challenge to the Lambda-CDM model of cosmology.[16] It is too massive and distant from the Local Group for it to have been flung out in a three-body interaction involving the Milky Way or Andromeda Galaxy, unless more exotic scenarios like MOND are invoked.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for NGC 3109. Retrieved 2006-11-19.
  2. ^ I. D. Karachentsev; V. E. Karachentseva; W. K. Hutchmeier; D. I. Makarov (2004). "A Catalog of Neighboring Galaxies". Astronomical Journal (abstract). 127 (4): 2031–2068. Bibcode:2004AJ....127.2031K. doi:10.1086/382905.
  3. ^ Karachentsev, I. D.; Kashibadze, O. G. (2006). "Masses of the local group and of the M81 group estimated from distortions in the local velocity field". Astrophysics. 49 (1): 3–18. Bibcode:2006Ap.....49....3K. doi:10.1007/s10511-006-0002-6. S2CID 120973010.
  4. ^ a b Irregular Galaxy NGC 3109 Archived 2007-11-07 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Grebel, Gallagher, Harbeck, p.7
  6. ^ Aparicio, Antonio; Artemio Herrero; F. Sánchez (1998). Stellar astrophysics for the local group: VIII Canary Islands Winter School. University of Cambridge. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-521-63255-3.
  7. ^ a b Sauvage, Marc; Grażyna Stasińska; Daniel Schaerer (2002). The evolution of galaxies: II—basic building blocks, Volume 2. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 123, 124. ISBN 978-1-4020-0622-7.
  8. ^ a b van den bergh, Sidney (2000). The galaxies of the Local Group. University of Cambridge. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-521-65181-3.
  9. ^ Hidalgo, Sebastian L.; et al. (2008). "The Disc-Halo Structure of NGC 3109". The Astronomical Journal. 136 (6): 2332–2342. Bibcode:2008AJ....136.2332H. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/136/6/2332.
  10. ^ Barnes, D. G.; de Blok, W. J. G. (August 2001). "On the Neutral Gas Content and Environment of NGC 3109 and the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy". The Astronomical Journal. 122 (2): 825. arXiv:astro-ph/0107474. Bibcode:2001AJ....122..825B. doi:10.1086/321170. S2CID 15734118.
  11. ^ a b Evans, Chris; et al. (2006). "The ARAUCARIA Project – First Observations of Blue Supergiants in NGC 3109" (PDF). The Messenger. 126: 5. Bibcode:2006Msngr.126....5E. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  12. ^ a b Pena, M. "An interesting comparison between PNE and H II regions in NGC 3109 and NGC 6822" (PDF). Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica. 35: 74–75. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  13. ^ Richer, Michael G.; Marshall L. McCall (1992). "Planetary nebulae and H II regions in NGC 3109". The Astronomical Journal. 103: 54–59. Bibcode:1992AJ....103...54R. doi:10.1086/116040.
  14. ^ Jobin, Marc; Carignan, Claude (1990). "The dark side of NGC 3109". The Astronomical Journal. 100 (3): 648–662. Bibcode:1990AJ....100..648J. doi:10.1086/115548.
  15. ^ Plotner, Tammy (2009-05-18). "Turning the Tides – NGC 3109 by Ken Crawford". Universe Today. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  16. ^ Banik, Indranil; Zhao, H (2018-01-21). "A plane of high velocity galaxies across the Local Group". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 473 (3): 4033–4054. arXiv:1701.06559. Bibcode:2018MNRAS.473.4033B. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx2596. ISSN 0035-8711.
  17. ^ Banik, Indranil; Haslbauer, Moritz; Pawlowski, Marcel S.; Famaey, Benoit; Kroupa, Pavel (2021-06-21). "On the absence of backsplash analogues to NGC 3109 in the ΛCDM framework". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 503 (4): 6170–6186. arXiv:2105.04575. Bibcode:2021MNRAS.503.6170B. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab751. ISSN 0035-8711.


External links[edit]