A photo of a bizarre merger of two galaxies was caught by the Hubble Space Telescope, depicting the consequences of the violent interaction.
Ekaterina Blinova — A new stunning photo was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, depicting spiral NGC 7714 galaxy violently distorted as a result of the dramatic interaction with another nearby galaxy.
"[NGC 7714] has witnessed some violent and dramatic events in its recent past. Tell-tale signs of this brutality can be seen in NGC 7714's strangely shaped arms, and in the smoky golden haze that stretches out from the galactic center," said the official press release of the European Space Agency (ESA).
According to the ESA, both galaxies drifted too close to each other almost 100-200 million years ago. Eventually, due to gravity they began changing one another's structure, violently distorting their shape. As a result, the scientists note, a ring and a couple of "tails" have emerged from NGC 7714, linking the two galaxies together. Through this gigantic "pipeline" NGC 7715 galaxy's gas and other material is passing toward its larger neighbor. The influx of new material is triggering bright bursts of star formation. The whole of NGC 7714's galaxy is sparkling with new stars, while most of its star-creating activity is concentrated at its bright shining center, the researchers pointed out.
ESA characterized NGC 7714 as a typical "Wolf-Rayet" galaxy, pointing to a large number of new stars forming within it. The stars are extremely hot and bright, each with a mass exceeding that of the Sun. However, they lose most of their mass swiftly due to strong and fierce space winds. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in April 1990, has long been helping space researchers to explore mysteries hidden in the depths of outer space.