Hubble captures a galactic waltz

November 26, 2015
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

This curious galaxy—only known by the seemingly random jumble of letters and numbers 2MASX J16270254+4328340—has been captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope dancing the crazed dance of a galactic merger. The galaxy has merged with another galaxy leaving a fine mist, made of millions of stars, spewing from it in long trails.

Despite the apparent chaos, this snapshot of the gravitational tango was captured towards the event's conclusion. This transforming galaxy is heading into old age with its star-forming days coming to an end. The true drama occurred earlier in the process, when the various clouds of gas within the two were so disturbed by the event that they collapsed, triggering an eruption of star formation. This flurry of activity exhausted the vast majority of the , leaving the galaxy sterile and unable to produce new .

As the violence continues to subside, the newly formed galaxy's population of stars will redden with age and eventually begin to cool and dim one by one. With no future generations of stars to take their place, the galaxy thus begins a steady path of fading and quieting.

Explore further: How do galaxies die?

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Tuxford
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 26, 2015
Pure propaganda from the merger maniacs, built on a mountain of assumptions.
plasmasrevenge
1 / 5 (4) Nov 26, 2015
It's a bit like saying that two water droplets that come into contact with one another will stretch out a fine thread of water as they are separated: We know that the Van der Waals simply stops having an effect upon water at a certain distance. Gravity is much the same; it's a localized force which does not dominate at the larger scales.

Calculating the force of gravity between two typical stars in our own neighborhood should emphasize the point:

The gravitational force applied by our Sun on Alpha Centari A+B is 153 trillionths of one Earth G.

It's local. The two stars essentially do not gravitationally interact.
SuperThunder
5 / 5 (5) Nov 27, 2015
leaving a fine mist, made of millions of stars

A hair raising sense of immense scale comes with that sentence, I enjoyed that.

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