July 12, 2024

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Two galaxies colliding together form an unusual space triangle

A direct collision between the two galaxies sparked a star formation frenzy, creating an “eccentric triangle of newly polished stars,” according to NASA press release.

The dueling pair of galaxies is collectively called Arp 143. The galaxy at the center of the stellar triangle is a galaxy known as NGC 2445, immersed in the star-birth-causing gases, and its less luminous counterpart is NGC 2444.

NASA suggested the galaxies passed through each other, igniting a firestorm of stars exploding into life in the galaxy NGC 2445.

“The simulation shows that direct collisions between two galaxies is one way of forming rings of new stars,” astronomer Julian Dalcanton of the Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City and the University of Washington in Seattle said in a press release. .

“Rings of star formation are not uncommon. However, what is strange about this system is that it is a triangle of star formation. Part of the reason for this shape is that these galaxies are still very close to each other and that NGC 2444 is still clinging to the other galaxy’s gravity.” “

NASA said the two galaxies are waging a tug-of-war, in which NGC 2444, not surrounded by a star triangle, appears to be the winner.

“NGC 2444 may also contain an invisible hot halo of gas that could help pull NGC 2445 gas away from its core. So they are not completely free from each other yet, and their unusual interaction is distorting the ring in this triangle,” Dalcanton said. .

NGC 2444 is also responsible for pulling filaments of gas out of its partners, attracting young blue stars that seem to form a bridge between the two galaxies.

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Although most of the motion occurs in NGC 2445, the other galaxy in the interacting pair has been stretched into an odd shape. This galaxy contains old stars and no new star formation.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency.