Galactic ‘dancing duo’ captured
GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a large spiral galaxy called NGC 3227 wrapped in a turbulent “gravitational dance,” with NGC 3226, an elliptical galaxy. Collectively called Arp 94, the two are between 50 and 60 million light-years from Earth, towards the constellation Leo. Faint tidal streams of gas and dust link the pair in their dance.
- NGC 3227 is a Seyfert Galaxy, a type of galaxy that has a supermassive black hole at the centre and therefore accrete metal, releasing large amounts of radiation.
- Scientists estimate that about 10 per cent of all galaxies may be Seyfert galaxies.
- Astronomers want to understand why galaxies in our local universe mostly fall into two categories: they are either younger star-forming spirals like our Milky Way or older elliptical galaxies where star-making has ceased.
- NGC 3226 occupies a transitional middle ground, giving scientists an opportunity to understand how one transitions into another.
- Many gassy loops with stars emerge from NGC 3226 and filaments run from it to NGC 3227. These ‘streamers’ of materials suggest that a third galaxy could have existed there recently until NGC 3226 cannibalised and strewed pieces of the shredded galaxy all over the vicinity.