Astronomers take photo of unique galactic accident

Dmitry IvancheskulLife
Galaxy collision observed thanks to Gemini North telescope

Astronomers have managed to take a rare and unique photo of the head-on collision of the galaxies UGC 12914 and UGC 12915, which are now called the Toffee Galaxy. The galactic accident occurred about 25 million years ago, but the galaxies behaved differently from their usual behaviour after the collision.

The image was obtained using the 8.1-metre Gemini North telescope, which is one of two telescopes that make up the Gemini International Observatory, operated by the National Optical and Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) of NASF (USA).

The twisted shape of the galaxies is the result of a head-on collision between them. The photo also shows a bridge of highly turbulent gas stretching between them. An interesting feature of this bridge is that, due to its turbulent nature, it does not create stars, although it is filled with star-forming material.

The collision of galaxies is nothing special, as such events are largely responsible for the evolution of the Universe.

What was strange about the collision of these galaxies was that they did not merge into a new one, but continued to move on after the collision, stretching the bridge between them.

This bridge was formed because after the collision, a massive injection of energy into the gas occurred, causing it to become very turbulent. As the pair exited the collision, high-speed gas was pulled out of each galaxy, creating a massive gas bridge between them. The turbulence of stellar material across this bridge now prevents the gas from collecting and compressing, which is necessary for the formation of new stars.

It is because of this bridge that they are called Toffee galaxies, as the gas between them looks like a sticky toffee.

Typically, galaxy collisions result in the mixing of galactic gas. This creates stellar material, leading to the formation of molecular clouds populated by newly formed stars.

Earlier in the history of the Universe, smaller, simpler galaxies collided with each other and merged into larger ones, eventually forming galaxies like our own Milky Way galaxy. In fact, this process is still going on and in about 4 billion years our galaxy will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy.

The Taffy galaxies are located at a distance of about 180 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Pegasus.

The result of a collision between two galaxies.

OBOZREVATEL previously reported that astronomers have discovered "impossible" galaxies that have existed since the beginning of time.

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