Hubble Photograph Shows Collision Of Two Galaxies 1 Billion Light Years Away
NASA has released a photo of a cosmic object with a turbulent story. The image shows two galaxies destructively colliding into each other.
Image With A Violent Story
On Monday, Jan. 9, NASA shared on its website the image of IRAS 14348-1447.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured this photograph of two galaxies colliding into and eventually destroying each other about 1 billion light years away from planet Earth.
The photograph shows a smudge of bluish object amid the dark expanse of space dotted with other glittering cosmic objects. The object was named after the space telescope that helped discover it, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS.
Infrared Astronomical Satellite Mission
The IRAS mission was the first to put a telescope in space to survey the sky in infrared. Launched in January 1983 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the space telescope discovered the core of our galaxy, six new comets and evidence of solid material around the stars Fomalhaut and Vega. The mission ended in November 1983.
IRAS 14348-1447 is comprised of two gas-rich spiral galaxies that got too near to each other. NASA said that the process eventually caused the two galaxies to merge into one and destroy each other.
"This doomed duo approached one another too closely in the past, gravity causing them to affect and tug at each other and slowly, destructively, merge into one," NASA said in its photo release.
Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy
IRAS 14348-1447 is one of the most gas-rich examples of ultraluminous infrared galaxy, which belongs to a class of cosmic bodies that are characterized by incredibly bright shining in the infrared part of the spectrum. Nearly 95 percent of the energy generated by IRAS 14348-1447, is in fact, in the far-infrared.
The large amount of molecular gas present in IRAS 14348-1447 serves to fuel its emission.
The whirling and ethereal appearance that creates the wisps and tails that extend away from the galaxy's main body is likewise attributed to this high amount of molecular gas.
The molecular gas is also known to undergo a number of dynamical processes while it interacts and moves around.
Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) captured the image. Despite its age, the space telescope continues to be an important astronomical tool. Launched in 1990, the telescope, which is jointly operated by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015.
Scientists have been using the telescope to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the other planets that reside in the solar system. Along with data from X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra observatory, Hubble also helps unveil the mysteries of black holes.
Just last year, Hubble spotted an irregular dwarf galaxy called UGC 4879 which does not have the distinct shape of spiral and elliptical galaxies.
It has also detected two dwarf galaxies migrating to a cosmic big city, a region in space full of intergalactic gas, after spending most of their lifespan in the Local Void.