ESO images provide a rare view of the collision of two galaxies
About 1 billion years ago, two galaxies merged, creating a new galaxy seen in a photo taken by a telescope in the southern hemisphere.
Why is this important: Galaxies can grow and evolve through collisions like this, giving scientists insight into the diversity of these types of objects in the universe.
What they found: The galaxy – called NGC 7727 – started forming when two galaxies danced around each other, disrupting their gas and dust, changing their appearance around 1 billion years ago.
- The ‘tangled trails’ in the photo taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope were produced during the merger as stars and dust were stripped from their parent galaxies and combined into one, a said the ESO.
- “The core of NGC 7727 still consists of the original two galactic cores, each of which harbors a supermassive black hole,” ESO said in a statement. statement. “Located about 89 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius, it is the closest pair of supermassive black holes to us.”
- The two black holes are about 1,600 light-years apart and will merge within 250 million years, producing a more massive black hole, ESO added.
The big picture: The Milky Way is heading towards itself slow speed cosmic collision with the Andromeda Galaxy billions of years away, so knowing more about these types of crashes could help scientists better understand the future of our own galaxy.
Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Axios Science newsletter on August 25.