The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope finds a cosmic tadpole or a tadpole galaxy, which is now named LEDA 36252. Tadpole galaxies are rare and are known for their bright, compact heads and elongated tails, a shape resembling that of a tadpole.
A photo of LEDA 36252, also called Kiso 5639, is now available thanks to Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). This was taken as part of a Hubble study into the galaxy’s properties, which include starburst activity, cosmic gas and star cluster formation.
Usually, the stars in a tadpole galaxy are old, which are believed to be already present at the time when the universe was still young and galaxies were still taking form. However, the recently discovered cosmic tadpole contains a significant amount of young stars in its head.
These young stars are grouped in clusters and reach masses of up to 10,000 times the mass of the sun. The scientists report these mainly contain hydrogen and helium.
The team believes that the young stars were born when the galaxy pulled in primordial gas. At its tail, the galaxy contains blue stars and four regions were stars form. These stars are older than the stars in the galaxy’s head.
Moreover, the galaxy is also said to have strong stellar winds and supernova explosions. These supernova explosions apparently perforated the galaxy’s head apart from creating many cavities throughout its body. Some stars, gas and galaxy filament also stretch away from LEDA 36252’s main body.
Tadpole galaxies are very rare and unusual in comparison to other galaxy types. In 10,000 galaxies, only 20 galaxies are tadpoles. Nevertheless, scientists assert that tadpole galaxies used to be more prevalent when the universe was still young.
Tadpole galaxies are among the different types of galaxies that move through the universe. The main types of galaxies are spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies.
In comparison, our Milky Way is an example of spiral galaxies. Initially, scientists say that it was an ordinary spiral galaxy but further analysis has revealed that the Milky Way is actually a barred spiral galaxy, a spiral galaxy with a bar-shaped structure composed of bright stars in its center.