Take a look at a new image of a deceptively calm-looking galactic collision

(ORDO NEWS) — Sometimes you just need to sit back and admire a particularly magnificent view of the interplay of galaxies.

When these giant space cities merge into one another, wild and crazy things happen – sort of a “Galaxies in the Wild” scenario. Take this couple for example. We see them locked together in a cosmic dance that has been going on for less than half a billion years.

With every turn on the intergalactic dance floor, they constantly change each other. In the end, they will merge into one giant galaxy.

NGC 1512 (left) is the larger of the two galaxies. It’s a closed spiral that seems to unwind as interactions progress. Its smaller companion is a dwarf lenticular galaxy (lower right) called NGC 1510.

They both lie in the direction of the constellation Horologium and are about 60 million light-years away from us.

The 4-meter Victor M. Blanco telescope in Chile captured this kind of interaction between the galaxies of this pair.

What happens when galaxies merge?

The galaxies are far apart in space, but they interact with each other throughout cosmic time. Through these interactions, they grow and change. This also applies to our Milky Way.

In fact, our galaxy is currently engulfing several smaller dwarf galaxies, adding their signature stars to the Milky Way’s larger population.

The interaction of the galaxies NGC 1510 and NGC 1512 is a good example of what happens during a merger.

Their gravitational attraction to each other caused powerful waves of star formation, especially in the outer spiral arms of a large galaxy. This created what astronomers call “stellar flares” and sent long blue filaments of hot young stars into space.

Mergers of galaxies often provoke outbreaks of star formation. Someday these massive stars will explode in supernovae and add some fireworks to the long galactic dance.

In addition, NGC 1512’s lesser gravitational pull pulls gas, dust, and stars away from its larger neighbor, creating an obscure tendril that extends through space. It also appears to “unwind” the spiral arms of its more massive neighbor.

NGC 1510 is affecting its little companion, pulling tendrils of gas and dust away from it. The interaction also distorts the shapes of both galaxies. Over time, the situation will only get worse for both galaxies.

Eventually, they will completely merge with each other and form a giant galaxy, possibly an elliptical one. But this is far in the future.

This scene of galactic dance is part of a large image taken by the Blanco Telescope, equipped with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam). The DECam camera was created for use in the Dark Energy Survey project. This is a project to map hundreds of millions of galaxies and detect supernovae.

Ultimately, the idea is to find patterns in the cosmic structure that will provide clues to the nature of dark energy. This is a mysterious “something” that accelerates the expansion of the universe.

The study lasted six years. During this time, DECam recorded information on 300 million galaxies in an area of ​​5,000 square degrees of the southern sky.

While we can’t see dark energy directly, we can appreciate incredibly detailed images of galaxies like this one and the results of such fantastic galaxy interactions.

If you look closely at this wide-angle image, you will see even more distant galaxies forming the background for two interacting galaxies.

Take a look at a new image of a deceptively calm looking galactic collision 2

The Victor C. Blanco facility is part of the NOIRlab. This group of observatories includes the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Community Science and Data Center, Gemini Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. The laboratory itself is funded by the US National Science Foundation.


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