Using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), a state-of-the-art wide-field imager on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, astronomers have produced an outstanding image of two interacting galaxies: the compact elliptical galaxy NGC 1510 and the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512.
NGC 1512 and NGC 1510 reside roughly 39 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Horologium.
Also known as ESO 250-4, LEDA 14391 and IRAS 04022-4329, NGC 1512 spans 70,000 light years, nearly as much as our own Milky Way Galaxy.
It is classified as a barred spiral galaxy, named after the bar composed of stars, gas and dust slicing through its center.
The bar acts as a cosmic funnel, channeling the raw materials required for star formation from the outer ring into the heart of the galaxy.
This pipeline of gas and dust in NGC 1512 fuels intense star birth in the bright, blue, shimmering inner disc known as a circumnuclear starburst ring, which spans 2,400 light-years.
NGC 1510, otherwise known as ESO 250-3, LEDA 14375 and IRAS F04018-4332, is classified as a compact elliptical galaxy.
“As well as revealing the intricate internal structure of NGC 1512, the new DECam image shows the wispy outer tendrils of the galaxy stretching out and appearing to envelop its tiny companion,” the astronomers said.
“The starry stream of light that connects the two galaxies is evidence of the gravitational interaction between them.”
“NGC 1512 has been in the process of merging with NGC 1510 for 400 million years, and this drawn-out interaction has ignited waves of star formation,” they added.
“Eventually, they will merge into one larger galaxy — a drawn-out example of galactic evolution.”
“The wide field of view of this observation shows not only the intertwined galaxies, but also their star-studded surroundings,” they said.
“The frame is populated with bright foreground stars within the Milky Way and is set against a backdrop of even more distant galaxies.”
Source link: https://www.sci.news/astronomy/decam-ngc-1512-ngc-1510-10773.html