NGC 3621

NGC 3621 is a field spiral galaxy about 22 Mly (6.7 Mpc) away in the constellation of Hydra (The Sea Snake). It is comparatively bright and can be well seen in moderate-sized telescopes. The galaxy is around 93,000 ly (29,000 pc) across and is inclined at an angle of 25° from being viewed edge on. It shines with a luminosity equal to 13 billion times that of the Sun. The morphological classification is SA(s)d, which indicates this is an ordinary spiral with loosely wound arms. There is no evidence for a bulge. Although it appears to be isolated, NGC 3621 belongs to the Leo spur.

This galaxy has an active nucleus that matches a Seyfert 2 optical spectrum, suggesting that a low mass supermassive black hole is present at the core. Based upon the motion of stars in the nucleus, this object may have a mass of up to three million times the mass of the Sun.

Part of NGC 3621 obtained with Very Large Telescope, and a wide-angle image with the Wide-Field Imager at La Silla Observatory.

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) image of NGC 3621.