A distorted duo

Gravity governs the movements of the cosmos. It draws flocks of galaxies together to form small groups and more massive galaxy clusters, and brings duos so close that they begin to tug at one another. This latter scenario can have extreme consequences, with members of interacting pairs of galaxies often being dramatically distorted, torn apart, or driven to smash into one another, abandoning their former identities and merging to form a single accumulation of gas, dust, and stars.

The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, IC 1727, is currently interacting with its near neighbour, NGC 672 (which is just out of frame). The pair’s interactions have triggered peculiar and intriguing phenomena within both objects — most noticeably in IC 1727. The galaxy’s structure is visibly twisted and asymmetric, and its bright nucleus has been dragged off-centre.

In interacting galaxies such as these, astronomers often see signs of intense star formation (in episodic flurries known as starbursts) and spot newly-formed star clusters. They are thought to be caused by gravity churning, redistributing, and compacting the gas and dust. In fact, astronomers have analysed the star formation within IC 1727 and NGC 672 and discovered something interesting — observations show that simultaneous bursts of star formation occurred in both galaxies some 20 to 30 and 450 to 750 million years ago. The most likely explanation for this is that the galaxies are indeed an interacting pair, approaching each other every so often and swirling up gas and dust as they pass close by.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1733a
Type:Observation
Release date:14 August 2017, 06:00
Size:3653 x 3602 px

About the Object

Name:IC 1727, UGC 1249
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Interacting
Distance:23 million light years
Constellation:Triangulum
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
5.9 MB
Screensize JPEG
489.1 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
468.7 KB
1280x1024
775.5 KB
1600x1200
1.1 MB
1920x1200
1.3 MB
2048x1536
1.8 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):1 47 29.15
Position (Dec):27° 20' 4.75"
Field of view:2.41 x 2.38 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 11.7° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Ultraviolet
UV
257 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
B
438 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Ultraviolet
UV
336 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
H-alpha
657 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

Also see our


Accelerated by CDN77