Merging Galaxies In Eridanus Captured With Hubble

First Posted: Feb 08, 2016 02:42 PM EST

NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured the image of a strange galaxy known as NGC 1487, which is made up of two merging galaxies. NGC 1487 is located about 30 million light-years away and is found in the constellation of Eridanus.

NGC 1487's formation is seen more like an event than a celestial object. In these "events" two or more galaxies merge together to form a new individual galaxy, which is the case for NGC 1487's formation. Each of the two galaxies has lost all trace of their original appearance, where their stars and gas have been thrown into a cosmic whirl.

Galaxies are sometimes disrupted by the violence of the merging process, unless one of the galaxies is more massive than other. Thus, it is difficult for researchers to determine what the original galaxies looked like and precisely how many galaxies were involved in the galaxy formation.

It is possible that NGC 1487's formation is the merger of several dwarf galaxies that were once clumped together in a small group. NGC 1487's outer regions are populated with old yellow and red stars. However, it is mostly dominated by large regions of luminous blue stars, where their brightness is fueled from patches of gas that gives them life. This merger may have also aided in the formation of many new stars.

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