Friday, August 5, 2022

Captivating Hubble Image: Angel Wing Galaxy Fusion

4:34 PM | ,

An Angel Wing in Space

The celestial spectacle of two galaxies merging at the center of the image forms an intriguing pattern reminiscent of an angel with expansive wings. The backdrop is speckled with distant galaxies, adding depth to the cosmic tableau.

This awe-inspiring image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, showcases a cosmic dance between two galaxies within the VV-689 system, aptly named the Angel Wing. This isn't a mere chance alignment of galaxies appearing to overlap from our earthly perspective. Instead, the two galaxies in the VV-689 system are locked in a cosmic collision, their gravitational forces intertwined.

The galactic encounter has rendered the VV-689 system almost perfectly symmetrical, producing a vast impression of galactic wings, a celestial angel crafted by cosmic forces.

The Galaxy Zoo citizen science project, titled "Zoo Gems," offers a fascinating look at unique galaxies. This crowdsourced program relies on the collective efforts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to classify galaxies, assisting astronomers in managing the data overflow from robotic telescopes. In the process, the volunteers have unearthed a gallery of peculiar and captivating galaxy types, some of which have never been studied before. A parallel project, Radio Galaxy Zoo: LOFAR, employs the same crowdsourcing strategy to pinpoint the locations of supermassive black holes lurking in distant galaxies. 

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

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