NASA Hubble telescope eyes creepy space 'face' for Halloween

Pablo Tucker
October 31, 2019

These two galaxies are heading straight towards each other in a slow-motion intergalactic head-on collision, rather than a glancing blow.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured this striking image back in June, but the fine folks at Hubble released it this week in honour of Halloween and all things scary.

"Each "eye" is the bright core of a galaxy, the result of one galaxy slamming into another", NASA said in a release Monday. Since the bulges that make the "eyes" appear like the same size, we may maybe moreover even be definite that that the two galaxies furious by the break had been of equal size.

'This violent come across presents the system an engaging ring construction, nonetheless sterling for a brief amount of time.

Thankfully, it is not Cthulhu's cousin or anything quite so sinister but is instead two galaxies merging in a system called called Arp-Madore 2026-424, 704 million light-years away.

"The crash has pulled and stretched the galaxies' discs of gas, dust, and stars outward, forming the ring of intense star formation that shapes the "nose" and "face" features of the system", the ESA wrote in a statement on its website. To create a ring, galaxies need to merge while being at a specific orientation. Most galactic collisions involve a larger object that subsumes a smaller one, according to Hubble.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed this unique system as part of a "snapshot" program that takes advantage of occasional gaps in the telescope's usually busy observing schedule to gain additional photographs. Astronomers plan to use this innovative Hubble program to take a close look at many other unusual interacting galaxies.

The intention is to compile a robust sample of nearby interacting galaxies, to gain insight into how galaxies develop through galactic mergers.

The side-by-side juxtaposition of the two central bulges of stars from the galaxies that we see here is also unusual.

Meanwhile, in August, the Hubble telescope's successor the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) was assembled completely for the first time at Northrop Grumman's facilities in Redondo Beach, California.

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