Hubble celebrates 19th anniversary with fountain of youth

Apr 21, 2009
This brilliant image, courtesy of NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a fitting 19th anniversary tribute to the workhorse space observatory. This interacting group contains several galaxies, along with a "cosmic fountain" of stars, gas and dust that stretches over 100,000 light years. Resembling a pair of owl's eyes, the two nuclei of the colliding galaxies can be seen in the process of merging at the upper left. The bizarre blue bridge of material extending out from the northern component looks as if it connects to a third galaxy but in reality the galaxy is in the background and not connected at all. The blue "fountain" is the most striking feature of this galaxy troupe and it contains complexes of super star clusters that may have as many as dozens of individual young star clusters in them. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Over the past 19 years Hubble has taken dozens of exotic pictures of galaxies going "bump in the night" as they collide with each other and have a variety of close encounters of the galactic kind. Just when you thought these interactions couldn't look any stranger, this image of a trio of galaxies, called Arp 194, looks as if of the galaxies has sprung a leak. The bright blue streamer is really a stretched spiral arm full of newborn blue stars. This typically happens when two galaxies interact and gravitationally tug at each other gravitationally.

Resembling a pair of owl's eyes, the two nuclei of the colliding can be seen in the process of merging at the upper left. The bizarre blue bridge of material extending out from the northern component looks as if it connects to a third galaxy but in reality this galaxy is in the background and not connected at all. Hubble's sharp view allows astronomers to try and sort out visually which are the foreground and background objects when galaxies, superficially, appear to overlap.

The blue "fountain" is the most striking feature of this galaxy troupe and it contains complexes of super star clusters that may have as many as dozens of individual young star clusters in them. It formed as a result of the interactions among the galaxies in the northern component of Arp 194. The gravitational forces involved in a galaxy interaction can enhance the star formation rate and give rise to brilliant bursts of star formation in merging systems.

Hubble's resolution shows clearly that the stream of material lies in front of the southern component of Arp 194, as shown by the dust that is silhouetted around the star cluster complexes.

The details of the interactions among the multiple galaxies that make up Arp 194 are complex. The system was most likely disrupted by a previous collision or close encounter. The shapes of all the galaxies involved have been distorted by their gravitational interactions with one another.

Arp 194, located in the constellation of Cepheus, resides approximately 600 million light-years away from Earth. Arp 194 is one of thousands of interacting and merging galaxies known in our nearby Universe. These observations were taken in January 2009 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Blue, green and red filters were composited together to form this rather picturesque image of a galaxy interaction.

This picture was issued to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. Hubble has made more than 880 000 observations and snapped over 570 000 images of 29 000 celestial objects over the past 19 years.

Source: ESA/Hubble Information Centre (news : web)

Explore further: 'Perfect storm' quenching star formation around a supermassive black hole

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hubble sees the graceful dance of 2 interacting galaxies

Oct 30, 2007

A pair of galaxies, known collectively as Arp 87, is one of hundreds of interacting and merging galaxies known in our nearby Universe. Arp 87 was originally discovered and catalogued by astronomer Halton Arp ...

Hubble scores a perfect ten

Oct 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after a one-month breakdown with a snapshot of the fascinating galaxy pair Arp 147. Scientists made two repair attempts, and last week's effort ...

Colliding galaxies make love, not war

Oct 17, 2006

A new Hubble image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. The ...

Hubble Eyes Star Birth in the Extreme

Jun 13, 2006

Staring into the crowded, dusty core of two merging galaxies, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a region where star formation has gone wild.

Antennae Galaxies

May 19, 2008

This image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed. The brightest and most compact of these star ...

Hubble Illuminates Cluster of Diverse Galaxies

Feb 06, 2007

This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows the diverse collection of galaxies in the cluster Abell S0740 that is over 450 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Centaurus.

Recommended for you

The hot blue stars of Messier 47

22 hours ago

Messier 47 is located approximately 1600 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Puppis (the poop deck of the mythological ship Argo). It was first noticed some time before 1654 by Italian astronomer ...

Why is space black?

Dec 16, 2014

Imagine you're in space. Just the floating part, not the peeing into a vacuum hose or eating that funky "ice cream" from foil bags part. If you looked at the Sun, it would be bright and your retinas would ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2009
I have long been a critic of NASA for its refusal to modify obsolete dogmas about the solar system with new isotopic data from the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon [1] and the 1996 Genesis Probe into Jupiter's atmosphere [2].

[1] See 1983 data at http://www.omatumr.com/index1.html" title="http://[url=http://http://www.omatumr.com/index1.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.omatum...ex1.html]http://www.omatum...ex1.html[/url]
[2] See 1998 data at http://www.omatumr.com/index1.html" title="http://[url=http://http://www.omatumr.com/index1.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.omatum...ex1.html]http://www.omatum...ex1.html[/url]

Therefore, observational information from the Hubble telescope likely represents NASA's greatest contribution to science to date.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://www.omatumr.com
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2009
While checking for info at NED, I came across this 2003 study of Arp 194: http://adsabs.har...25.1897M . Their ground based observations show measured speeds of 10,502 km/s for the Southern galaxy (A194S) and 10,430 km/s for the merged Northern component (A194N). They propose that the Southern component was responsible for dragging out material from the Northern component (Gravitationally, I might add). Additional imaging in Hydrogen-alpha light and radio plus spectra show the brightest %u2018blue blob%u2019 to be actively forming stars and that %u201Cthe mass of %u2018blob A%u2019 is within the range of dwarf galaxies%u201D. Also, it%u2019s recession speed closely matches the other galaxies, ruling out line-of-sight arguments. So it may be a tidal dwarf galaxy (or its%u2019 precursor)! The hi-res TIFF image at the Hubble site is just awesome to view closeup. I%u2019m sure at least someone will write up a paper analyzing the data gathered to make this pic. This image could also help large ground-based telescopes zero in on regions of interest for spectroscopic and kinematic analysis. The 2003 paper mentioned an estimated 30,000 O and B supergiants populate the brightest of the %u2018blue blobs%u2019 designated %u2018blob A%u2019 in the paper! That really is a super star cluster (or maybe a smallish tidal dwarf galaxy).
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2009
Try this link to the 2003 paper on Arp 194: http://arxiv.org/...47v1.pdf
omatumr
1 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2009
EXPERIMENTAL DATA

Sorry about the broken links above.

Send me an e-mail (omatumr@yahoo.com) if you want to see surprising isotope data from the Apollo Missions to the Moon and the 1996 Genesis Probe into Jupiter's atmosphere.

If these experimental data from missions inside the Solar System had been honestly considered by NASA, they would far exceed the scientific value of pictures of the distant cosmos from the Hubble telescope.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://www.omatumr.com

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.