Dazzling dynamic duo: Hubble captures galaxy pair in final stages of merging

Published on Jun 26, 2021 11:15 PM IST

The astronomers expect a powerful inflow of gas to ignite a frenzied burst of star formation in the resulting compact starburst galaxy, according to European Space Agency.

The image, taken with the Nasa/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, features the interacting galaxy pair IC 1623.(ESA/Hubble & Nasa, R. Chandar)
The image, taken with the Nasa/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, features the interacting galaxy pair IC 1623.(ESA/Hubble & Nasa, R. Chandar)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Nasa on Friday shared an image of a cataclysmic cosmic collision featuring an interacting galaxy pair that lies around 275 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus. The image was taken with a Hubble Space Telescope operated by Nasa and European Space Agency (ESA). The image shows two galaxies that are in the final stages of merging.

The astronomers expect a powerful inflow of gas to ignite a frenzied burst of star formation in the resulting compact starburst galaxy, according to ESA. In 2008, The same interacting pair of galaxies, IC 1623, was captured by Hubble using two filters at optical and infrared wavelengths on the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

The latest image of the interacting galaxy pair incorporates data from Wide Field Camera 3, Hubble's most technologically advanced instrument to take images in the visible spectrum, and combines observations taken in eight filters spanning infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths to reveal the finer details of IC 1623.

Also Read | Mystery of ‘see-through’ galaxy deepens after new Hubble observation: Nasa

ESA said that future observations of the galaxy pair using the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope targeted for the October 31 launch, will shed more light on the processes powering extreme star formation in environments such as IC 1623.

Webb is Nasa’s next space science observatory, which will help in solving the mysteries of the solar system and probing the mystifying structures and origins of our universe. It is an international program led by Nasa, along with its partners ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.

A team of scientists will train Webb on six of the most distant and luminous quasars, the active supermassive black holes that are millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun. The Webb telescope will actually look back in time as light from these distant quasars began its journey to Webb when the universe was very young and took billions of years to arrive.

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