Hubble Gallery - NGC 4622

Galaxy NGC 4622, 111 million light-years away in the constellation Centaurus, is puzzling astronomers as it appears to be rotating in the opposite direction to what they expected. Most spiral galaxies have arms of gas and stars that trail behind as they turn. But this galaxy has two "leading" outer arms that point toward the direction of the galaxy's clockwise rotation. NGC 4622 also has a "trailing" inner arm that is wrapped around the galaxy in the opposite direction to which it is rotating.
Astronomers suspect that NGC 4622 collided with another galaxy which it partly consumed. The galaxy's core provides new evidence for a merger between NGC 4622 and a smaller galaxy. The picture was taken in May 2001 with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.