(ORDO NEWS) — The Hubble Space Telescope, in honor of the 32nd anniversary of its launch into space, received a new image of the Hickson Compact Group 40, which consists of five galaxies. In one billion years, the galaxies will collide and merge to form one giant elliptical galaxy, the observatory’s website says.
Hubble was launched into space on April 24, 1990 and is still in operation, making it the longest-running orbital observatory ever.
To date, the telescope has made 1.5 million observations of approximately 50,000 deep-sky objects and the solar system, providing material for hundreds of scientific papers.
At the end of last year, despite a series of major disruptions to the observatory, NASA decided to extend the telescope’s scientific program until 2026.
On the 32nd anniversary of the observatory’s launch into space, astronomers have released a new image of the Hickson Compact Group 40 (HCG 40), which includes five galaxies: three spiral, one elliptical and one lenticular.
The group is located in the constellation Hydra, about 300 million light-years from the Sun, and is considered one of the densest among the compact groups of galaxies.
It is assumed that such groupings of galaxies could be a common phenomenon in the early Universe, and dark matter in the vicinity may prevent their decay.
Almost all galaxies in the group have a compact source of radio emission in their cores, which may indicate the presence of supermassive black holes.
X-ray observations suggest that galaxies gravitationally interact with each other and are surrounded by a large amount of hot intergalactic gas. In about one billion years, the galaxies will collide and merge to form one giant elliptical galaxy.
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