Friday, August 5, 2022

An Angel Wing in Space

2 merging galaxies at image center form what looks like an angel with large wings. Distant galaxies dot the background.

This Hubble Space Telescope image features two merging galaxies in the VV-689 system, nicknamed the Angel Wing. Unlike chance alignments of galaxies, which only appear to overlap when viewed from our vantage point on Earth, the two galaxies in VV-689 are in the midst of a collision. The galactic interaction has left the VV-689 system almost completely symmetrical, giving the impression of a vast set of galactic wings.

“Zoo Gems,” interesting galaxies from the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project is a crowdsourced program and relies on hundreds of thousands of volunteers to classify galaxies and help astronomers wade through a deluge of data from robotic telescopes. In the process, volunteers discovered a gallery of weird and wonderful galaxy types, some not previously studied. A similar, project called Radio Galaxy Zoo: LOFAR is using the same crowdsourcing approach to locate supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Keel; Acknowledgment: J. Schmidt

Text Credit: ESA

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