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NGC 5474, an example of a dwarf spiral galaxy

A dwarf spiral galaxy is the dwarf version of a spiral galaxy. Dwarf galaxies are characterized as having low luminosities, small diameters (less than 5 kpc), low surface brightnesses, and low hydrogen masses.[1] The galaxies may be considered a subclass of low-surface-brightness galaxies.

Dwarf spiral galaxies, particularly the dwarf counterparts of Sa-Sc type spiral galaxies, are quite rare. In contrast, dwarf elliptical galaxies, dwarf irregular galaxies, and the dwarf versions of Magellanic type galaxies (which may be considered transitory between spiral and irregular in terms of morphology) are very common.[1]

It is suggested that dwarf spiral galaxies can transform into dwarf elliptical galaxies, especially in dense cluster environments.[2]



Most identified dwarf spiral galaxies are located outside clusters.[1] Strong gravitational interactions between galaxies and interactions between galaxies and intracluster gas are expected to destroy the disks of most dwarf spiral galaxies.[1][3] Nonetheless, dwarf galaxies with spiral-like structure have been identified within the Virgo Cluster and Coma Cluster.[3][4][5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d J. M. Schombert; R. A. Pildis; J. A. Eder; A. Oelmer, Jr. (1995). "Dwarf Spirals". Astronomical Journal. 110: 2067–2074. Bibcode:1995AJ....110.2067S. doi:10.1086/117669. 
  2. ^ Ben Moore; Neal Katz; George Lake; Alan Dressler; Augustus Oemler (1 February 1996). "Galaxy harassment and the evolution of clusters of galaxies". Nature. 379 (6566): 613–616. Bibcode:1996Natur.379..613M. arXiv:astro-ph/9510034 . doi:10.1038/379613a0. 
  3. ^ a b A. W. Graham; H. Jerjen; R. Guzmán (2003). "Hubble Space Telescope Detection of Spiral Structure in Two Coma Cluster Dwarf Galaxies". Astronomical Journal. 126 (4): 1787–1793. Bibcode:2003AJ....126.1787G. arXiv:astro-ph/0308241 . doi:10.1086/378166. 
  4. ^ H. Jerjen; A. Kalnajs; B. Binggeli (2000). "IC3328: A "dwarf elliptical galaxy" with spiral structure". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 358: 845–849. Bibcode:2000A&A...358..845J. arXiv:astro-ph/0004248 . 
  5. ^ F. D. Barazza; B. Binggeli; H. Jerjen (2002). "More evidence for hidden spiral and bar features in bright early-type dwarf galaxies". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 391 (3): 823–831. Bibcode:2002A&A...391..823B. arXiv:astro-ph/0206275 . doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20020875. 
  6. ^ T. Lisker; E. K. Grebel; B. Binggeli (2006). "Virgo Cluster Early-Type Dwarf Galaxies with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. I. On the Possible Disk Nature of Bright Early-Type Dwarfs". Astronomical Journal. 132 (2): 497–513. Bibcode:2006AJ....132..497L. arXiv:astro-ph/0604216 . doi:10.1086/505045.