Hubble captures new image of two colliding galaxies

Hubble captures new image of two colliding galaxies”

Talk about getting up close and personal.

Galaxy NGC 1277 is located near the centre of the Perseus cluster of more than 1,000 galaxies some 240 million light years away, but it is moving so fast - 3.2 million kilometres per hour (2 million mph) - that it can not merge with other galaxies or suck in the gas needed to fuel star formation.

"This image suspends them in a single moment, freezing the chaotic spray of gas, dust, and stars kicked up by the gravitational forces pulling the two galaxies together", the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement.

Although their nuclei are nevertheless disconnected by a very large distance the forms of the galaxies, are magnificently contorted.

Their nuclei are still far apart and won't being converging any time soon, but the image shows distinct signs that an exciting galactic collision is underway. The galaxy is composed exclusively of aging stars that were born 10 billion years ago. The uptick in star formation is caused by a surge in interstellar dust and gas motion triggered by the strong gravitational interactions.

Arp 256 was initially indexed by Halton Arp in 1966, as one of 338 galaxies dispensed in the capably named Atlas of uncanny Galaxies. The catalogue features galaxies at various stages of evolution, including strangely shaped dwarf galaxies, galaxies producing forceful jets, and those interacting, like ARP 256, the Mice galaxies, and the Whirlpool Galaxy.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured the pair's attractive cosmic dance in a recent photo of the spiral galaxies, known as Arp 256.

These weird galaxies are like an organic investigation performing at a cosmic scale and by indexing them astronomers can appropriately understand the physical processes that distort spiral and elliptical galaxies into new shapes.

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