Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
ESA/Hubble Information Centre
Summary:
A new Hubble image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627. This cluster is violently ripping the spiral's entrails out into space, leaving bright blue streaks as telltale clues to this cosmic crime.

New Hubble image of spiral galaxy ESO 137-001.
Credit: NASA, ESA Acknowledgements: Ming Sun (UAH), and Serge Meunier

This new Hubble image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627. This cluster is violently ripping the spiral's entrails out into space, leaving bright blue streaks as telltale clues to this cosmic crime.

Related Articles


This new Hubble image shows ESO 137-001, a galaxy located in the southern constellation of Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) -- a delicate and beautiful spiral galaxy, but with a secret.

This image not only captures the galaxy and its backdrop in stunning detail, but also something more dramatic -- intense blue streaks streaming outwards from the galaxy, seen shining brightly in ultraviolet light.

These streaks are actually hot young stars, encased in wispy streams of gas that are being torn away from the galaxy by its surroundings as it moves through space. This violent galactic disrobing is due to a process known as ram pressure stripping -- a drag force felt by an object moving through a fluid*. The fluid in question here is superheated gas, which lurks at the centres of galaxy clusters.

This image also shows other telltale signs of this process, such as the curved appearance of the disc of gas and dust -- a result of the forces exerted by the heated gas. The cluster's drag may be strong enough to bend ESO 137-001, but in this cosmic tug-of-war the galaxy's gravitational pull is strong enough to hold on to the majority of its dust -- although some brown streaks of dust displaced by the stripping are visible.

Studying ram pressure stripping helps astronomers to better understand the mechanisms that drive the evolution of galaxies. For example, it will leave this galaxy with very little of the cold gas that is essential for star formation, rendering the galaxy effectively incapable of forming new stars.

ESO 137-001 is part of the Norma Cluster, a cluster of galaxies near the centre of the Great Attractor, a region of space that earned its name by being so massive, and having a gravitational pull so strong, that it is pulling entire galaxy clusters towards it. This region is located around 200 million light-years from our galaxy, the Milky Way. Both our galaxy and its home group, the Local Group, are slowly being hauled towards this mysterious region. Hubble also imaged ESO 137-001's neighbour, ESO 137-002, which is also known to have a hot tail of gas extending outwards into space (potw1302).

Despite being relatively close by cosmic standards, catching even a glimpse of the Norma Cluster is no mean feat. Observed from Earth, the cluster lies close to the plane of the Milky Way and is obscured by a thick smog of cosmic dust. But Hubble is up to the challenge -- using new data from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

As with most images from Hubble, this is not just a pretty picture; it tells us a great deal about the harsh environment at the heart of a galaxy cluster, and the fate of galaxies like ESO 137-001 that find passage through it.

A version of this image was submitted to the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Serge Meunier.

Note

* A quick and simple analogy for this effect would be to imagine leaning out of a car window as it travelled quickly along a motorway, or walking within a swimming pool.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ESA/Hubble Information Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ESA/Hubble Information Centre. "Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141732.htm>.
ESA/Hubble Information Centre. (2014, March 4). Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141732.htm
ESA/Hubble Information Centre. "Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141732.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Geminids Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies in China

Geminids Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies in China

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) The Geminids meteor shower lights up the skies over the Changbai Mountains in northeast China. Duration: 01:03 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Defense Satellite Launches from California

Raw: Defense Satellite Launches from California

AP (Dec. 13, 2014) A U.S. defense satellite launched from California's central coast on Friday after weather delays caused by a major storm that drenched the state. (Dec. 13) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins