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Archive for March 4, 2014

Spiral Galaxy Spills Blood And Guts


Image credit: NASA, ESA

Image credit: NASA, ESA

This new Hubble image shows ESO 137-001, a galaxy located in the southern constellation of Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) — a delicate and beautiful spiral galaxy, but with a secret.

This image not only captures the galaxy and its backdrop in stunning detail, but also something more dramatic — intense blue streaks streaming outwards from the galaxy, seen shining brightly in ultraviolet light.

These streaks are actually hot young stars, encased in wispy streams of gas that are being torn away from the galaxy by its surroundings as it moves through space. This violent galactic disrobing is due to a process known as ram pressure stripping — a drag force felt by an object moving through a fluid [1]. The fluid in question here is superheated gas, which lurks at the centres of galaxy clusters.

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