Rare images show role of collisions in galactic evolution

These six uncommon and beautiful photographs of galactic evolution have been taken by the Hubble House Telescope. They present what occurs when galaxies collide and merge


27 January 2021

New Scientist Default Image

NGC 3256: ESA/Hubble, NASA; NGC 1614 & NGC 3690: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STSCI/Aura) – ESA/Hubble Collaboration & A. Evans (University Of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University; NGC 4194, NGC 6052 & NGC 34: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Adamo et al.

NASA/ESA Hubble House Telescope

THESE uncommon and entrancing sights every reveals an epic cosmic occasion: the merging of galaxies.


Taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, the six photographs seize what occurs as galaxies collide and merge. As a result, clusters of stars form within them that can be millions of times the mass of the sun. Galaxy merging is regarded as one of many fundamental driving forces of cosmic evolution.

These are uncommon photographs since collisions, which drastically alter the looks and composition of galaxies, are uncommon. The modifications speed up the beginning of recent stars throughout the merger as molecular clouds fall to the centre of every galaxy, the place they collide with different molecular clouds, inflicting them to condense into new stars.

The distinctive decision of the Hubble telescope can seize such modifications, and residential in on a number of the options within the star clusters, akin to ones that appear like knots (truly, these are quite a few compact younger star clusters).

The Hubble imaging Probe of Excessive Environments and Clusters (HiPEEC) survey investigated these mergers and located that merged galaxies are among the many best environments to kind star clusters. The biggest clusters are created in the direction of the top of the merger course of.

Clockwise from high left, the photographs present six galaxy mergers: NGC 3256, NGC 1614, NGC 4194, NGC 34, NGC 6052 and NGC 3690.

Hubble, a three way partnership between NASA and the European House Company, has been in low orbit round Earth for over 30 years, and should properly proceed working for at the least one other decade.

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