Magnificent! NASA's Hubble Telescope captures crash of 3 galaxies | Tech News

Magnificent! NASA's Hubble Telescope captures crash of 3 galaxies

In a rare and astonishing view, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured three galaxies which are set to merge.

| Updated on: Feb 19 2023, 09:47 IST
What is your favourite Hubble Telescope image? NASA wants to know
Merging galaxies
1/5 If you are interested in space, you must be excited about all the images shared by the various space telescopes. In 2022, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured and shared several beautiful images. And NASA wants to know which one is your favourite Hubble Telescope image of 2022? In its latest Twitter post, NASA's Hubble Telescope has shared 4 images released in 2022 and has asked to vote for your favourite image. It can be known that the four images shared by the Hubble Space Telescope are of DEM L 190, NGC 976, HCG 40, and Terzan 2. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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2/5 DEM L 190, is a remnant from a massive star that died in a supernova blast whose light would have reached Earth thousands of years ago. This filamentary material will eventually be recycled into building new generations of stars. Our own sun and planets are constructed from similar debris of supernovae that exploded in the Milky Way billions of years ago, according to NASA. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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3/5 The galaxy NGC 976 lies around 150 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Aries. Despite its tranquil appearance, NGC 976 has played host to one of the most violent astronomical phenomena known – a supernova explosion. These cataclysmically violent events take place at the end of the lives of massive stars and can outshine entire galaxies for a short period. While supernovae mark the deaths of massive stars, they are also responsible for the creation of heavy elements that are incorporated into later generations of stars and planets. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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4/5 The Hickson Compact Group 40 (HCG 40) is an unusual close-knit collection of five galaxies. This menagerie includes three spiral-shaped galaxies, an elliptical galaxy, and a lenticular (lens-like) galaxy. Somehow, these different galaxies crossed paths in their evolution to create an exceptionally crowded and eclectic galaxy sampler. Caught in a leisurely gravitational dance, the whole group is so crowded that it could fit within a region of space that is less than twice the diameter of our Milky Way's stellar disk. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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5/5 The Terzan 2 is a globular cluster in the constellation Scorpio. Globular clusters are stable, tightly gravitationally bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars found in a wide variety of galaxies. The intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape. As a result, images of the hearts of globular clusters, such as this observation of Terzan 2, are crowded with a multitude of glittering stars. (Hubble Space Telescope)
Merging galaxies
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Astronomers have dubbed this merging group as SDSSCGB 10189. (ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Amazingly, over time, galaxies continue to interact and merge. The scale 8s humongous. Sometimes, when galaxies approach each other closely, they merge and form a single, larger galaxy through the process of merging. This remarkable view of a rare occurrence - the impending collision of not two, but three galaxies - has been captured by the Hubble Telescope. “Three galaxies stand together just right of centre. They are close enough that they appear to be merging into one. Their shapes are distorted, with strands of gas and dust running between them. Each is emitting a lot of light,” ESA explained about the image.

These merging galaxies are located in the Bootes constellation. These three galaxies are set to merge and as they do, they will blend together into a larger, singular galaxy, disrupting each other's spiral structures as a result of their mutual gravitational pull during the process. Not just that, the image also captured an unrelated foreground galaxy that appears to float serenely alongside.

About merging galaxies

Astronomers refer to this merging group as SDSSCGB 10189, a remarkable cluster consisting of three expansive, star-forming galaxies situated in close proximity to each other, at a distance of around 50,000 light-years. Though this distance may seem vast, it's extremely close for galaxies, making them practically next-door neighbours. For better understanding, know that our own galactic neighbours, such as Andromeda, the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way, are situated over 2.5 million light-years from Earth.

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The aim of this observation was to assist astronomers in comprehending the genesis of the universe's most massive galaxies. These massive, galactic behemoths are known as Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) and are distinguished as the most luminous galaxies in any given cluster. "Astronomers suspect that BCGs form through the merger of large, gas-rich galaxies like the ones in this image," ESA said in a statement.

To gain more insight into the formation of these colossal galaxies, astronomers employed Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.

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First Published Date: 19 Feb, 09:38 IST