Image: Hubble views two galaxies merging

December 31, 2015
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

This image, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the galaxy NGC 6052, located around 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Hercules.

It would be reasonable to think of this as a single abnormal galaxy, and it was originally classified as such. However, it is in fact a "new" galaxy in the process of forming. Two separate galaxies have been gradually drawn together, attracted by gravity, and have collided. We now see them merging into a single structure.

As the merging process continues, individual stars are thrown out of their original orbits and placed onto entirely new paths, some very distant from the region of the collision itself. Since the stars produce the light we see, the "galaxy" now appears to have a highly chaotic shape. Eventually, this new galaxy will settle down into a stable shape, which may not resemble either of the two original .

Explore further: Image: Hubble's view of the polar ring of Arp 230

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4 comments

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Vietvet
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 31, 2015
Wait for it, in 1-2-3-
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (7) Dec 31, 2015
Wait for it, in 1-2-3-

(million years)
wduckss
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 01, 2016
If the diameter of the galaxy 100,000 light-years, the speed approaching 100 km / sec is necessary to ~ 300 million years ...
Maybe is just, passing at a certain distance, since we overlook deformations. In the universe there is no opposite directions on the same orbit, just siding.
Mike_Massen
1.7 / 5 (7) Jan 01, 2016
Oh my gawd !
Freedom from Benni, bschhot, indio007, cantdrive85, DavidW etc
Will wonders not cease, or have I spoken too soon ? time will tell, as it does in Nature's paradigm at so many levels; night follows day, life follows death follows life, Eat & be eaten all the time, whether it be biological, economic, political, energy flows, pressure etc

Wouldn't it be sardonically amusing if distant/old Aliens who'd developed tech to level of what we used to accept as god-like some 3000-2000 yrs ago chose to first engage now with Engineers & cognitive Psychologists directly free from All political influence ?

Hmm, who could be or would be well primed to observe betrayed attributes of such dynamics & would the result be Fruitful in some way to, not only benefit our species & habitat but, also provide a firm foundation finally to settle the divide of "Claim vs Evidence" propaganda the wantonly ignorant rely upon to attempt manipulate economics, politics & religion ?

HNY

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