Dwarf galaxy caught ramming into a large spiral galaxy







Observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive cloud of multimillion-degree gas in a galaxy about 60 million light years from Earth. The hot gas cloud is likely caused by a collision between a dwarf galaxy and a much larger galaxy called NGC 1232.  If confirmed, this discovery would mark the first time such a collision has been detected only in X-rays, and could have implications for understanding how galaxies grow through similar collisions.
An image combining X-rays and optical light shows the scene of this collision. The impact between the dwarf galaxy and the spiral galaxy caused a shock wave − akin to a sonic boom on Earth – that generated hot gas with a temperature of about six million degrees. Chandra X-ray data, in purple, show the hot gas has a comet-like appearance, caused by the motion of the dwarf galaxy. Optical data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope reveal the spiral galaxy in blue and white.
Near the head of the comet-shaped X-ray emission is a region containing several very optically bright stars and enhanced X-ray emission. Star formation may have been triggered by the shock wave, producing bright, massive stars. In that case X-ray emission would be generated by massive star winds and by the remains of supernova explosions as massive stars evolve.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Huntingdon Institute for X-ray Astronomy/G. Garmire; Optical: ESO/VLT

Dwarf galaxy caught ramming into a large spiral galaxy

Observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive cloud of multimillion-degree gas in a galaxy about 60 million light years from Earth. The hot gas cloud is likely caused by a collision between a dwarf galaxy and a much larger galaxy called NGC 1232.  If confirmed, this discovery would mark the first time such a collision has been detected only in X-rays, and could have implications for understanding how galaxies grow through similar collisions.

An image combining X-rays and optical light shows the scene of this collision. The impact between the dwarf galaxy and the spiral galaxy caused a shock wave − akin to a sonic boom on Earth – that generated hot gas with a temperature of about six million degrees. Chandra X-ray data, in purple, show the hot gas has a comet-like appearance, caused by the motion of the dwarf galaxy. Optical data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope reveal the spiral galaxy in blue and white.

Near the head of the comet-shaped X-ray emission is a region containing several very optically bright stars and enhanced X-ray emission. Star formation may have been triggered by the shock wave, producing bright, massive stars. In that case X-ray emission would be generated by massive star winds and by the remains of supernova explosions as massive stars evolve.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Huntingdon Institute for X-ray Astronomy/G. Garmire; Optical: ESO/VLT

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