Universe

Ring galaxy Astronomical digital images

Ring galaxy Astronomical digital images

The edge of the blue galaxy illustrated on the right is an immense structure resembling a 150,000-light-diameter ring composed of extremely bright, newly formed massive stars.

That galaxy, AM 0644-741, is known as a ring galaxy and was created by a gigantic galactic collision. When galaxies collide they pass through each other; Your individual stars hardly come into contact.

The ring shape is the result of gravitational disruption caused by a small intrusive galaxy passing through a larger one. When this happens, interstellar gas and dust condense, causing a star formation wave to depart from the point of impact just like a wave on the surface of a pond when a stone is thrown.

The intrusive galaxy has already moved out of the frame taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, an image that was published to commemorate the fourteenth anniversary of the Hubble launch. The ring galaxy AM 0644-741 is about 300 million light years away.

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Album: Photos of the Universe Gallery: Digital astronomical images