Hubble Space Telescope Unveils Colliding Galaxies Resembling a ‘String of Pearls’

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured an intriguing image while observing a collection of interacting galaxies known as “Galaxy AM 1045-325.” The image revealed what looked like a celestial string of pearls, which according to NASA, results from magnetic interactions between Galaxy AM 1045-325 and a neighbouring galaxy.

This unique appearance is attributed to the merging of two galaxies that were previously rich in dusty clouds of molecular hydrogen. The merger compressed the hydrogen in these clouds, igniting a firestorm of star birth. The exact changes that occur in galaxies once a merger happens have remained somewhat elusive up until now. However, astronomers at NASA believe that the tails observed could be the spiral arms of the galaxy, which are being bent and stretched into space due to the gravitational tug-of-war occurring between the interacting galaxies.

The fate of the star clusters in the galaxies post-merger is still unclear. The stars could be pulled back into the heart of the galaxy, forming what astronomers refer to as a “globular star cluster”. Alternatively, the stars could disperse entirely, forming a “halo of stars” centered around the host galaxy. Another possibility is that the stars could be ejected into the universe, becoming wandering stars.

Information gleaned from these galaxies could provide invaluable insights into galactic evolution and the interactions that occur between stars and galaxies during collisions. This is particularly significant considering that our own Milky Way galaxy is likely to experience a similar fate.

The Hubble Space Telescope, a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), has been instrumental in changing our understanding of the universe since its launch in 1990. It continues to provide valuable data and stunning images that enhance our understanding of the cosmos. This recent discovery is yet another example of the valuable contribution Hubble continues to make to our knowledge of the universe.

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