New Delhi : Perhaps, it would be a million dollar moment, when the two spiral galaxies spiraled into each other, giving birth to a brilliant ring of black holes and neutron stars. Yes, the collision took place about 300 million light-years from Earth, deep in the constellation Volans.
The cosmic hit resulted in the formation of a new ring galaxy named AM 0644-741 and NASA scientists had successfully captured the collision in photos, which is now featured in a newly published study in the Astrophysical Journal.
In such case, a smaller galaxy, possibly the one in the bottom left corner of the image, completely passed through AM 0644-741, creating a gravitational disturbance in the form of a density wave that rippled out from the galaxy’s center, like waves generated from a stone thrown into a pond.
“These waves move some of the orbit of the stars toward the outer regions and, mainly, squeeze the gas in the target galaxy and in the surroundings. The denser gas that results reaches the point in which it makes new stars,” study co-author Anna Wolter, an astronomer with INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera in Italy, explains in an email.
The active stars moved around, as well as their stars, spread out and created the circular structure of the newly formed ring galaxy, also named the Lindsay-Shapley Ring after Eric Lindsay and Harlow Shapley, the pair of astronomers that discovered it in 1960.