Ducts between Galaxies. Active Universe

Ducts between Galaxies. Active Universe

This photo shows a conduit of material that flows between two galaxies. The duct, a dark ribbon of matter, begins in the galaxy on the left (NGC 1410), crosses 23,000 light-years of intergalactic space, and coils around the galaxy on the right (NGC 1409). These two galaxies reside in the constellation of Taurus, about 300 million light-years from Earth.

Scientists are not sure why NGC 1409 began to gravitationally empty their partner. They speculate that the gas flowing in NGC 1409 is too hot to collapse and form stars, so it continues to flow. They estimate that NGC 1409 has only consumed one million solar masses of gas.

The arms of NGC 1410, an active, gas-rich spiral galaxy, classified as a Seyfert, tend to blue, the color of the regions where stars form. The material bar that also cuts the center of NGC 1409 is a typical byproduct of collisions between galaxies. Astronomers expect more fireworks in the future, since galaxies are only 23,000 light-years away, half the distance between Earth and the center of the Milky Way.

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