Hubble Detects a New Pair of Galaxies
The new image produced by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope points at a pair of galaxies that are different from each other, yet traveling together in the interstellar cosmos. This unique galaxy pair is named as Arp 116.
The peculiar galaxy pair, Arp 116, is composed of a giant elliptical galaxy 'Messier 60' (M60), and a smaller spiral galaxy, NGC 4647. M60 is the third brightest galaxy in the Virgo cluster of more than 1,300 galaxies, and NGC 4647 is about two-thirds of the M60 in size and much lower in mass. This faint bluish spiral galaxy is roughly the size of the Milky Way.
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With a diameter of 120,000 light-years, M60 has a mass of about one trillion times that of a sun. It is one of the most massive black holes ever found. It has a huge black hole of 4.5 billion solar masses at its center.
Astronomers have been analyzing the two for a long time to find if they are actually interacting. From the earth, these two seem to overlap, but there is no evidence of new star formation, which would be one of the clearest signs that the two galaxies are indeed interacting.
"Regardless of whether they are actually close enough to be interacting, however, the two galaxies are certainly near neighbors," Hubble scientists wrote in a statement quoted by Space.com. "This means we see the two galaxies at the same scale, making Hubble's family portrait a textbook example of how giant elliptical galaxies differ in size, structure and color from their smaller spiral brethren."