Photos collected from NASA’s Spitzer Area Telescope are shedding gentle on the dramatic situations that come up when two galaxies collide. Because of the sturdy gravity ensuing from the big mass of a galaxy, galaxies are drawn collectively and ultimately collide. Generally this ends in one of many galaxies being annihilated, as scientists consider will occur when the Massive Magellanic Cloud collides with our Milky Method in two billion years’ time. However at different occasions, the 2 galaxies merge collectively to create one big galaxy.
Researchers are utilizing the pictures from Spitzer to attempt to perceive which situations make galaxies merge and which make them destroy one another. Merging galaxies seem notably vibrant to telescopes utilizing infrared, like Spitzer, so it’s the perfect software to gather knowledge on this subject. Throughout some mergers, galaxies proceed to supply new stars, however extra usually the star formation course of is halted which causes the destruction of 1 or each galaxies.
Most galaxies have a supermassive black gap at their middle, and the newest idea is that it’s the properties of this black gap that makes the distinction between a clean galactic merger and a harmful one. When a merger occurs, mud and fuel are pushed in the direction of the middle of every galaxy which each helps provide the fabric for making new stars and feeds the supermassive black gap. In some instances, if the supermassive black gap stays secure, the galaxy will proceed to make new stars. In different instances, the instability of the supermassive black gap creates shockwaves which propagate out throughout the galaxy and push the mud and fuel again out away from the middle, halting star formation.
Scientists are nonetheless searching for to grasp the connection between galactic mergers, the speed of star formation, and black gap exercise. One method is to check a lately merged galaxy, as a mission utilizing the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii is at the moment doing. Researchers there are on the lookout for the indicators of shockwaves brought on by a supermassive black gap gobbling up close by materials, though they haven’t discovered any of the anticipated shock signatures but. This means that there’s extra to the puzzle of galactic mergers that we nonetheless don’t perceive.