A stunning new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures an ongoing interaction between two active galaxies in the Arp 282 system.
The Arp 282 system is located approximately 319 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda.
It consists of the large spiral galaxy NGC 169 (primary) and the smaller galaxy IC 1559 (companion).
“It is now widely accepted amongst astronomers that an important aspect of how galaxies evolve is the way they interact with one another,” Hubble astronomers said.
“Galaxies can merge, collide, or brush past one another — each of which has a significant impact on their shapes and structures.”
“As common as these interactions are thought to be in the Universe, it is rare to capture an image of two galaxies interacting in such a visibly dynamic way.”
Both NGC 169 and IC 1559 have active galactic nuclei, although it is difficult to tell that from the Hubble image.
This is actually rather fortunate, because if the full emission of these two active galactic nuclei was visible in the image, then it would probably obscure tidal interactions occurring between the two galaxies.
“Tidal forces occur when an object’s gravity causes another object to distort or stretch,” the researchers said.
“The direction of the tidal forces will be away from the lower-mass object and towards the higher mass object.”
“When two galaxies interact, gas, dust and even entire solar systems will be drawn away from one galaxy towards the other by these tidal forces.”
“This process can actually be seen in action in this Hubble image — delicate streams of matter have formed, visibly linking the two galaxies.”
Source link: https://www.sci.news/astronomy/hubble-interacting-galaxy-pair-arp-282-10528.html