Monday, July 19, 2021

Mayall's Object

500 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major there is an interacting galaxy system which for its particolar shape it's unique.

This system is known as both Arp 148 and the Mayall Object, in honor of its discoverer Nicholas Mayall who first observed it in 1940 from the Lick Observatory.

Arp 148 is the result of the collision of two galaxies which led to the formation of a ring and an elongated structure that extends perpendicular to the plane of the ring. The mechanisms that led to the formation of this structure are very complicated and have not yet been fully understood. It is believed that the two original galaxies colliding produced shock waves which, as they propagated, initially caused the matter of the two galaxies to precipitate towards the center. This matter would then bounce and start moving outward, forming the ring.

Arp 148 was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as part of a survey of what are thought to be colliding galaxies. The image was taken with Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 instrument. It was released along with 59 other images of this type in 2008 for that space telescopes' 18th anniversary.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble.

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