Monday, March 27, 2023

Exploring the Cosmic Depths: Unraveling the Mysteries of Jellyfish Galaxies and Star Formation

12:22 AM | ,

The enchanting 'jellyfish' galaxy JW100, captured in a mesmerizing image by the Hubble Space Telescope, showcases streams of star-forming gas dripping from its disk. Located in the Pegasus constellation, JW100 is over 800 million light-years away and owes its unique appearance to ram pressure stripping, which occurs when the galaxy encounters the diffuse gas pervading galaxy clusters. This process creates the trailing streamers that give JW100 its distinct 'jellyfish' moniker.

The bright elliptical patches in the image belong to other galaxies within the cluster that hosts JW100. At the top of the image, two bright blotches surrounded by a luminous area of diffuse light reveal the core of IC 5338, the brightest galaxy in the cluster. This cD galaxy, an elliptical galaxy with an extended halo, likely grew by devouring smaller galaxies, resulting in multiple nuclei.

Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 captured this stunning image as part of a sequence of observations aimed at exploring star formation in the tendrils of jellyfish galaxies . By studying these extreme conditions, astronomers hope to gain insights into the process of star formation throughout the universe.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Gullieuszik and the GASP team

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