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Largest-known spiral galaxy may give birth to new small galaxy, say astronomers

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A multinational team of astronomers has discovered the largest-known spiral galaxy. While spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has ranked among the biggest stellar systems for years, astronomers recently labeled it the largest-known spiral galaxy after examining data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission. NGC 6872 stretches more than 522,000 light-years, making it more than five times the size of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers believe that large galaxies, including the Milky Way, matured through mergers and acquisitions, forming over billions of years by taking in a lot of smaller systems. However, astronomers think that the gravitational interaction of NGC 6872 and IC 4970 may have done the opposite, creating what may turn into a new small galaxy.

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