Tuesday, May 1, 2012

dirty space news: strange ring galaxy

today i'd like to add another entry to the infamous dirty space news series! 

last year, astronomers serendipitously discovered a strange ring galaxy that they called Auriga's Wheel.  these are the discovery images taken by the suburu telescope in hawaii: 

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you can read all about the system in a post by one of the astronomers behind this work at the cosmic horizons blog, but in short, they believe this structure is the result of two galaxies experiencing a head on collision!  

below is the colorful image of the system (left) and the sketch of what the authors think is happening in this intense galaxy collision.

photo link

just this year, the authors have published a paper where they have attempted to model the coupling of the system. the image below reveals that we are lucky to be able to see the current structure, as it only achieves this particular position during a relatively short time of peak performance.

photo link

luckily, the authors have produced a video of their stimulating simulation:

finally, hear astronomer richard lane talk all about this research and much more in his recent interview on the astropodcast!


Allison Reynolds said...

Hey thanks Amanda!

Allison from AstroPodcast

Rik Gern said...

I love animations like that!

How much real time does that 20 second animation represent?

Unknown said...

it covers about 120 million years!

Rik Gern said...



Sakib said...

Love this galaxy! Learnt of it last year whilst researching ring galaxies. But how is it dirty?!