Galaxy distorted by the influence of a massive neighbor appears in a new image from Hubble

(ORDO NEWS) — A new image taken by NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a chaotic cloud of gas far out in space.

The image shows the galaxy NGC 3718, which NASA officials call a “highly distorted spiral galaxy”, meaning that the formation of this galaxy was interrupted by a powerful gravitational influence from a neighboring galaxy called NGC 3729, under the influence of which the galaxy NGC 3718 acquired an S-shaped shape. These galaxies are separated by 150,000 light-years, and NGC 3729 is not even visible in this Hubble image.

Hubble captured in detail this image showing part of the galaxy NGC 3718, a wavy, wriggling ribbon of dust that passes the galaxy’s core and is lost in the gas surrounding the galaxy, NASA officials wrote in a statement released May 24.

“The gas that fills the galaxy and this ribbon of dust bear the same signs of the gravitational influence that formed this unique configuration.”

The Hubble Space Telescope was aimed at the core of the galaxy, which is difficult to observe due to the large amount of dust lying in the line of sight. Hubble’s infrared observations made it possible to observe the central regions “as part of a program to study the central regions of disk galaxies with star-rich bulges under various conditions.”

The purpose of this study is to elucidate the nature and causes of the connection between the masses of supermassive black holes and galactic “bulges”, as well as to study the processes of star formation in galaxies.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will continue Hubble’s observations of galaxies for decades, but its primary targets will be early galaxies that formed shortly after the Big Bang. Webb is expected to start operating this summer.

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