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Hubble Spots Massive Space “Pumpkin”

This is a Hubble Space Telescope snapshot of the early stages of a collision between two galaxies that resembles a Halloween carved pumpkin. The “pumpkin’s” glowing “eyes” are the bright, star-filled cores of each galaxy that contain supermassive black holes. An arm of newly forming stars gives the imaginary pumpkin a wry smirk. The two galaxies, cataloged as NGC  2292 and NGC  2293, are located about 120 million light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. Credit: NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)

What looks like two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile in this new NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.””>NASA/ESA Hubble Space TelescopeThe Hubble Space Telescope (often referred to as Hubble or HST) is one of NASA’s Great Observatories and was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It is one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes in use and features a 2.4-meter mirror and four main instruments that observe in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It was named after astronomer Edwin Hubble.”>Hubble Space Telescope snapshot is the early stages of a collision between two galaxies. Residing in the constellation Canis Major, the entire view is 109,000 light-years across, approximately the diameter of our Milky WayThe Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Earth, and is named for its appearance from Earth. It is a barred spiral galaxy that contains an estimated 100-400 billion stars and has a diameter between 150,000 and 200,000 light-years.”>Milky Way.

The overall pumpkin-ish color corresponds to the glow of aging red stars in two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 2292 and NGC 2293, which only have a hint of spiral structure.

The ghostly arm making the “smile” may be just the beginning of the process of rebuilding a spiral galaxy, say researchers. The arm embraces both galaxies. It most likely formed when interstellar gas was compressed as the two galaxies began to merge. The higher density precipitates new star formation.

Source: SciTechDaily