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Image of Galactic Merger Taken by Hubble

TOP spiral galaxy

Image credit: Hubble image of spiral galaxy NGC 7714. This is a composite of data capturing a broad range of wavelengths, revealing the correlation of the gas clouds and stars in the galaxy / ESA, NASA & A. Gal-Yam (Weizmann Institute of Science)

The spiral galaxy NGC 7714, a nearby neighbor of Earth, has moved closely to another galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope has observed this amazing interaction of such merging pair, known as Arp 284 to the astronomers, because and its spindly arms are spotted to be twisted out of shape and long streams of its stellar material have been drawn out into space.

As a typical Wolf-Rayet starburst galaxy, NGC 7714 is 100 million light-years away from our planet, It is believed that the extraordinarily bright and hot stars within the galaxy started to come into life with huge times the mass of the Sun, however, they lose its most mass quickly owing to strong winds.

According to the latest images released by Hubble, it is thought that NGC 7714 has experienced some violent events not long ago. Based on information from the European Space Agency (ESA), the tell-tale signs of brutality could be observed in NGC 7714’s twisted arms in addition to the smoky, golden haze which had been stretched out from the core of the galaxy. Sometime in the past, namely between 100 and 200 million years, NGC 7714 moved closely to a smaller companion galaxy known as NGC 7715, and these two started to disfigure the structure and shape of each other.

The current ongoing merger has generated a ring and two long tails of stars which have come from NGC 7714. They built up a bridge between the two galaxies, serving just like a pipeline to funnel material from NGC 7715 directly going to its much larger companion, thus giving rise to bright bursts of star formation. Although, most activities of star formation are taking place at the galactic center, new stars are also being sparked throughout the whole galaxy.

The smaller companion NGC 7715 is located just outside the frame of the composite image above. However, from the wider-field image from the Digitized Sky Survey below, you could observe both of the galaxies; the bright star on the left is nearly a billion times closer than the galaxy.

Images: ESA, NASA with acknowledgement to A. Gal-Yam/Weizmann Institute of Science (top), NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey 2 (bottom)

Images: ESA, NASA with acknowledgement to A. Gal-Yam/Weizmann Institute of Science (top), NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey 2 (bottom)