Tuesday, July 23, 2024

I photographed a cosmic dance of two colliding galaxies – space and astronomy


The astonishing cosmic dance of two colliding galaxies has been captured thanks to the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile: the collision, which lasted about a billion years ago, gave rise to the galaxy Ngc 7727, which has in the center the nearest pair of supermassive black holes The cluster was not found at all.

The galaxy Ngc 7727, located in the constellation of Aquarius more than 100 million light-years from Earth, has been previously imaged by another ESO telescope, but this new image shows more detail, inside the object. tails that encapsulate it.

The two colliding galaxies imaged by the ESO Vlt telescope (Source: ESO / Voggel et al.)

Thanks to the Vlt Fors2 spectrometer, in fact, it was possible to see how the two colliding galaxies shredded stars and dust to form long, dizzying arms surrounding Ngc 7727. Parts of these arms are scattered by the stars, which look like patches of brilliant blue-violet color. Two bright dots in the center of the galaxy also appear in the image, another sign of its past.

The core of Ngc 7727 is still made up of two original galactic cores, each containing a supermassive black hole. They are the closest pair of supermassive black holes to us, separated by only 1,600 light-years, and are expected to merge in 250 million years (the blink of an eye in astronomical time) to form an even larger black hole.

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