steorra: Jupiter's moon Europa (europa)
[personal profile] steorra
Attack of the mystery green blobs

In 2007, Hanny van Arkel, a Dutch schoolteacher, was classifying galaxies on the Galaxy Zoo project, and she came across a weird image of something that didn't look like an ordinary galaxy. It was so unlike anything previously known that it was initially called 'Hannys Voorwerp', Dutch for 'Hanny's object', and the name has stuck.

It turns out to be a galaxy-scale cloud of ionized oxygen and neon, apparently ionized thanks to past activity from a neighbouring black hole.

Now it turns out that it's not alone - 19 similar objects have been identified, most of which are near a pair of interacting or merging galaxies, which probably caused the X-rays that ionized their gases.
kajivar: (Muse // Urania Telescope)
[personal profile] kajivar
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Over the past 19 years Hubble has taken dozens of exotic pictures of galaxies going "bump in the night" as they collide with each other and have a variety of close encounters of the galactic kind. Just when you thought these interactions couldn't look any stranger, this image of a trio of galaxies, called Arp 194, looks like one of the galaxies has sprung a leak. The bright blue streamer is really a stretched spiral arm full of newborn blue stars. This typically happens when two galaxies interact and gravitationally tug at each other.

Resembling a pair of owl eyes, the two nuclei of the colliding galaxies can be seen in the process of merging at the upper left. The blue bridge looks like it connects to a third galaxy. In reality the galaxy is in the background and not connected at all. Hubble's sharp view allows astronomers to try and visually sort out what are foreground and background objects when galaxies, superficially, appear to overlap. This picture was issued to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. During the past 19 years Hubble has made more than 880,000 observations and snapped over 570,000 images of 29,000 celestial objects.

Source: Hubblesite.org

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