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Hubble tells a tale of galactic collisions

Date:
May 12, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
When we look into the distant cosmos, the great majority of the objects we see are galaxies: immense gatherings of stars, planets, gas, dust, and dark matter, showing up in all kind of shapes. A new Hubble picture registers several, but the galaxy catalogued as 2MASX J05210136-2521450 stands out at a glance due to its interesting shape.

Galaxy 2MASX J05210136-2521450.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola

When we look into the distant cosmos, the great majority of the objects we see are galaxies: immense gatherings of stars, planets, gas, dust, and dark matter, showing up in all kind of shapes. A new Hubble picture registers several, but the galaxy catalogued as 2MASX J05210136-2521450 stands out at a glance due to its interesting shape.

This object is an ultraluminous infrared galaxy which emits a tremendous amount of light at infrared wavelengths. Scientists connect this to intense star formation activity, triggered by a collision between two interacting galaxies.

The merging process has left its signs: 2MASX J05210136-2521450 presents a single, bright nucleus and a spectacular outer structure that consists of a one-sided extension of the inner arms, with a tidal tail heading in the opposite direction, formed from material ripped out from the merging galaxies by gravitational forces.

The image is a combination of exposures taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, using near-infrared and visible light.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Hubble tells a tale of galactic collisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130512145356.htm>.
NASA. (2013, May 12). Hubble tells a tale of galactic collisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130512145356.htm
NASA. "Hubble tells a tale of galactic collisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130512145356.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

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