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Cool images from Hubble! The two photos to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, shows two different galaxies undergoing a collision with another galaxy. Both images are from of a montage of six galaxy merger images from the Hubble Space Telescope, released yesterday.
To celebrate a new year, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has published a montage of six beautiful galaxy mergers. Each of these merging systems was studied as part of the recent HiPEEC survey to investigate the rate of new star formation within such systems. These interactions are a key aspect of galaxy evolution and are among the most spectacular events in the lifetime of a galaxy.
It is during rare merging events that galaxies undergo dramatic changes in their appearance and in their stellar content. These systems are excellent laboratories to trace the formation of star clusters under extreme physical conditions.
The first galaxy merger to the right is dubbed NGC 6052, and is located in the constellation of Hercules about 230 million light-years away. This pair of colliding galaxies, according to the caption, “were first discovered in 1784 by William Herschel and were originally classified as a single irregular galaxy because of their odd shape. However, we now know that NGC 6052 actually consists of two galaxies that are in the process of colliding.”
The second image shows two galaxies, IC 694 and NGC 3690, about 700 millions after they had completed a close pass of each other. From the caption: “As a result of this interaction, the system underwent a fierce burst of star formation. In the last fifteen years or so six supernovae have popped off in the outer reaches of the galaxy, making this system a distinguished supernova factory.”
You can see all six merger images here, though to my eye these two are the most impressive.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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