‘Angel Wing’: Image of Merging Galaxies

NASA has showcased a picture of two merging galaxies that are located in the VV-689 system. These two merging galaxies have been given the nickname “Angel Wing”, as both galaxies are on a collision course creating an almost symmetrical shape depicting the wings of an angel.

Overview:

  • The image of the colliding galaxies has been taken from the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project.
  • This project is a crowdsourced program that involves thousands of volunteers who comb through Hubble’s data to classify and locate galaxies.
  • The volunteers have discovered lots of galaxies that remain to be fully studied.

What are galaxies?

Galaxies are vast cosmic islands consisting of gas, stars, dark matter, and dust that are held together by gravity. By using the Hubble telescope thousands of galaxies of different structures, shapes, and histories have been discovered. The discovered galaxies are either lone, within immense clusters, or part of small groups. Some galaxies have supermassive black holes at their galactic centers while some are giant bursts of star formation. Some of the discovered galaxies are heading towards collisions with other galaxies and all these discoveries are allowing the astronomers to probe the properties of the galaxies as well as examining their formation and development over time.

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