Saturday, August 17, 2013

penguin galaxy

doesnt it look like a penguin?   or a hummingbird with sunglasses?

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Heritage Hubble Team (STScI/AURA)
the galaxy is actually called NGC 2936 and has been warped into that shape by the gravitational tug of the smooth little yellow galaxy nearby, called NGC 2937.   together, they are known as Arp 142, the name given to the interacting galaxy pair by the first person to identify them, halton arp in the 1960s.

the system is about 326 million light years away.  the dark red-looking streaks are dust lanes that are blocking the light from the stars behind them.   they actually absorb energy from that starlight and as a result, glow in the infrared.  the bright blue bits are all regions glowing hot from very new stars forming as a result of the interaction of these two galaxies.

interestingly, at the bottom right of the penguin, you can see lots of tiny little galaxies which look very red and live far off in the distant universe.

there are SO MANY galaxies out there in the universe!!

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