Two galaxies, NGC 1512 and NGC 1510, have been in the process of merging for 400 million years. This interaction triggered a wave of star formation, according to details seen in an unpublished image released on Tuesday (3).
The board (look above) is also filled with bright Milky Way stars seen in the foreground, with a background filled with even more distant galaxies.
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Telescope captures ‘dance’ of merging galaxies 400 million years ago
The “dance” was recorded at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, located about 80 km from La Serena, a Chilean town near the Atacama Desert. According to the researchers, the stream of starry light stretching between the two signals that the larger galaxy is “enveloping” the smaller one — evidence that there is a gravitational interaction between them.
As a result, the connection between NGC 1512 and NGC 1510 affected the rate of star formation of both, according to the scientists, and they may merge into a single, even larger galaxy in the future. They are located 60 million light-years from Earth, with 1 light-year corresponding to about 9.5 trillion km.
Víctor M. Blanco Telescope, located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile — Photo: NOIRLab/NSF/CTIO/AURA/D.Munizaga
The image was taken by the 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco telescope, located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
It houses one of the world’s best performing wide field of view cameras: the Dark Energy Camera or, in English, Dark Energy Camera (DECam). It was created to lead the Dark Energy Surveya six-year space observation project (2013 to 2019) that involved more than 400 scientists from 25 institutions and seven countries.
The international effort sought to map galaxies, detect supernovae and discover patterns of cosmic structure – a search for details about the dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.