#astronomy Caught on the hook – Astronomy Now

January 7, 2021 - Comment

A curving arm of the spiral galaxy NGC 2442 trails into extragalactic area on this superb picture from the Hubble Area Telescope. The galaxy, which is about 50 million gentle years away within the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Volans, the Flying Fish, is also called the Meathook Galaxy, because of the form of its asymmetrical


A curving arm of the spiral galaxy NGC 2442 trails into extragalactic area on this superb picture from the Hubble Area Telescope.

The galaxy, which is about 50 million gentle years away within the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Volans, the Flying Fish, is also called the Meathook Galaxy, because of the form of its asymmetrical spiral arms, significantly its northern arm, which has been pulled out from the galaxy to type a particular ‘hook’ form. We are able to get a way of that on this picture, with clear area between the internal a part of the galaxy and the spiral arm, seemingly held inflexible by a thick skeleton of darkish mud. In hydrogen-alpha gentle, the northern spiral arm can also be probably the most outstanding, because it interacts with the extragalactic medium. There’s even a cloud of hydrogen fuel, seen solely at radio wavelengths, that has additionally been ripped from NGC 2442.

Picture: ESA/Hubble and NASA/Stephen Smartt et al.

This all hints on the presence of an unseen companion galaxy that has had a detailed encounter with NGC 2442, the gravitational tidal forces between the 2 inflicting NGC 2442’s spiral construction to unravel. Fashions recommend that in just a few hundred million years’ time, NGC 2442’s spiral arms can have wound themselves again in and the galaxy can have returned to regular. Nonetheless, gravity received’t let it relaxation – NGC 2442 and its hidden companion are seemingly sure collectively now, and gravity will pull them again collectively for an additional shut encounter in just a few hundred million years. After a collection of encounters, the 2 galaxies may merge in just a few billion years’ time.

Is the companion galaxy actually unseen although? What this picture does so properly is create a way of depth, with the hazy gentle belonging to NGC 2442 within the foreground fading away to disclose a sky filled with way more distant galaxies. And, if we glance carefully at NGC 2442, just under its core, then we are able to see one other galaxy by means of the foreground stars. Is that this the companion that has wrought all of the harm to NGC 2442? Solely time will inform.



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