Posts Tagged ‘ring galaxy’

Ringing a Bulls-Eye

NASA/ESA Hubble

A galactic bulls-eye ringed with pink nebulae is the only evidence of a rare galactic collision of NGC 922 that occurred millions of years ago.

Explore this awesome image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. What shapes or stories do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

NGC 922 used to be a spiral galaxy. But as you zoom across the image, the spiral arms look distorted and disrupted. Tell-tale signs of a galactic interaction are many from the large numbers of bright pink nebulae and blue stars to the spray of dim stars toward the top of the image. Ripples set up as the smaller galaxy passed through the gas and dust clouds of NGC 922 created new star formation. Ultraviolet radiation from these bright new stars cause hydrogen gas in the surrounding nebula to glow a characteristic pink. The tugs of gravity hurled thousands of stars outward.

Scientists believe that millions of years ago a small galaxy, known as 2MASXI J0224301-244443, plunged through the heart of NGC 922. Sometimes, if a small galaxy hits a larger galaxy just right, a circle is formed. But more often than not, galaxies are not aligned perfectly. When a galaxy smacks another off center, one side of the ring is brighter than the other. NGC 922 is a prime example of what astronomers call collisional ring galaxies.

As you explore the empty places of the image, look for faraway background galaxies. Several dim spiral galaxies dot the image both outside the galaxy and within the star-speckled interior.

NGC 922 is found about 330 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Fornax. Fornax, the Furnace, is a constellation we haven’t visited before. Introduced by sky mapper and French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1756, Fornax is relatively devoid of stars allowing astronomers to peer deep into the universe. Astronomers targeted Fornax for the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image.

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Number Zero

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

We’re starting a new series here at Starry Critters; numbers and letters. Today’s image is brought to you by the number zero.

Hot, blue stars form a halo around the yellow center of a galaxy known as Hoag’s Object. From Earth it appears as the huge number zero as we view this odd galaxy face-on in this image from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope.

The ring of young, massive stars stretches about 120,000 light-years across; slightly larger than our Milky Way Galaxy. The ring may be the result of new star formation caused when one galaxy zoomed through the other. Scientists don’t see a second galaxy that could be responsible. Another idea is that the ring is the shredded remains of a galaxy that encountered the older yellow galaxy in the center. Astronomers believe this encounter took place two to three billion years ago.

Explore the the billions of stars that make up this galaxy. The halo consists of blue stars grouped together in giant clusters. They are recently born out of huge clouds of gas and dust. These massive, new stars won’t live long. Within a couple million years they will start to explode in supernova brighter than the entire galaxy. The gap in the center may not be entirely empty. Faint star clusters or individual stars may be sprinkled lightly in this area. Can you pick out distant spiral galaxies and another ring galaxy shining through this area?

Light from Hoag’s Object has traveled a long time to reach Earth, taking nearly 600 million light-years to reach us. This unusual ring galaxy is found in the constellation Serpens, the Serpent. It is named after Arthur Allen Hoag who discovered it in 1950. Hoag believed it to be either a planetary nebula or a peculiar galaxy.

Eye in an Eye

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Hot, blue stars form a halo around the yellow center of a galaxy known as Hoag’s Object. From Earth, we view this odd galaxy face-on in this image from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope.

The ring of young, massive stars stretches about 120,000 light-years across; slightly larger than our Milky Way Galaxy. The ring may be the result of new star formation caused when one galaxy zoomed through the other. Scientists don’t see a second galaxy that could be responsible. Another idea is that the ring is the shredded remains of a galaxy that encountered the older yellow galaxy in the center. Astronomers believe this encounter took place two to three billion years ago.

Explore the the billions of stars that make up this galaxy. The halo consists of blue stars grouped together in giant clusters. They are recently born out of huge clouds of gas and dust. These massive, new stars won’t live long. Within a couple million years they will start to explode in supernova brighter than the entire galaxy. The gap in the center may not be entirely empty. Faint star clusters or individual stars may be sprinkled lightly in this area. Can you pick out distant spiral galaxies and another ring galaxy shining through this area?

Light from Hoag’s Object has traveled a long time to reach Earth, taking nearly 600 million light-years to reach us. This unusual ring galaxy is found in the constellation Serpens, the Serpent. It is named after Arthur Allen Hoag who discovered it in 1950. Hoag believed it to be either a planetary nebula or a peculiar galaxy.

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