For the first time ever, NASA’s iconic Hubble telescope has captured merging of two galaxies nearly 230 million light-years away from the Earth, in the constellation of Hercules. The stunning image was acquired using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 aboard NASA/ ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Seeing the image for the first time, scientists thought it would be an abnormal shaped galaxy, however, further analysis revealed that they are witnessing live merging of two galaxies — a process which will give birth to a new child galaxy. It was reported that major galaxy is named NGC 6052.
While explaining, NASA scientists said that earlier they were two separate galaxies, however, due to gravitational pull they attracted each other and eventually collided with each other. The process will force stars to change orbits and select a new path. Some stars might collide in the process emitting massive bright light which humans can track via telescopes.
It is a process of millions of years until both the galaxies become stable and give birth to a new galaxy. Also, the newly formed galaxy will not resemble any of the two parent galaxies, it will have its own striking, size shape features.
“It would be reasonable to think of this as a single abnormal galaxy, and it was originally classified as such. However, it is in fact a ‘new’ galaxy in the process of forming,” the space agency said in a statement. “Eventually, this new galaxy will settle down into a stable shape, which may not resemble either of the two original galaxies.”
Moreover, Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990, and remains in operation. With a 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) mirror, Hubble’s four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared spectra. The telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble. Since, Hubble orbits outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere, it enables the telescope to capture some mind blowing and detailed images and reveals information like no other telescope.
First published on Dec 31, 2015, 12:10 PM