The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a photo that shows two galaxies violently colliding into each other. The photo of the two gas-rich spiral galaxies combination was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
The object is named IRAS 14348-1447. NASA states that this is located more than a billion light years away from Earth. The space agency adds that the object is actually one of the most gas-rich examples of an ultraluminous infrared galaxy. An ultraluminous infrared galaxy is a class of objects in space that shine so bright in the infrared part of the spectrum. Nearly 95% of the energy produced by IRAS 14348-1447 is actually in the far-infrared, the agency’s press release stated.
Apparently, a significant amount of molecular gas within the celestial object fuels its emission. It also goes through several dynamical processes as the gas interacts and moves around, giving the object’s whirling appearance, tails and wisps extending away from the galaxy’s main body.
Last year, Hubble also allowed scientists to determine what causes supermassive black holes to grow into their massive sizes very rapidly. The research suggested that black holes can form directly from the collapse of a gigantic gas cloud and were already formed massive in size, having 100,000 times the mass of the sun.
“There is a lot of controversy over which path these black holes take,” said the study’s co-author Andrea Ferrara from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. “Our work suggests we are converging on one answer, where black holes start big and grow at the normal rate, rather than starting small and growing at a very fast rate.” This analysis also utilized the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. The results have been published online on March 28 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).