Astronomers from the NOIRLab laboratory that operates the Gemini North telescope in Hawaiipublished an incredible image of the collision of two galaxies, one of the most spectacular events in the universe.
The picture shows the galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567located about 60 million light-years from Earth in the Virgo cluster, They are linked by a mutual gravitational field, which caused them to form a kind of cosmic butterfly.
The coalition of the two galaxies represents the early stages of a galactic merger. The respective centers of the star fields are still separated by about 20,000 light-years, which would be roughly three-quarters of the distance between Earth and the heart of the Milky Way.
The original spirals of the two galaxies can be seen clearly in the photo, pBut as the fusion progresses the arm-shaped patterns will be destroyed. the spirals would be lost by intense outbursts triggered by the struggling gravitational forces, eventually becoming a new elliptical galaxy in about 500 million years.
The researchers concluded that the end result of the fusion process between NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 could cause it to create a galaxy similar to its older neighbor, Messier 89, which is also in the Virgo cluster. Messier 89 has minimal star formation and is made up of older, low-mass stars.
The image shows scientists what will happen in 5 billion years to the Milky Way when it collides with the nearest galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy.In addition, the collision between the two could cause the sun and the solar system to be thrown into a different region of the resulting galaxy.
The Gemini North cosmic butterfly was created from data collected in 2020 and also features supernova SN 202fqv, which was first observed in 2020
This new image captured by the Gemini North telescope in Hawai‘i, part of the @GeminiObsoperated by @NSF‘s @NOIRLabAstroreveals a pair of interacting spiral #galaxies — NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 — as they begin to clash and merge. https://t.co/vijLGjmtuo (1/2) pic.twitter.com/DKmgMPQ6FO
— Gemini Observatory (@GeminiObs) August 9, 2022