Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hubble Resurrected

Our dear old Hub's Wide Field Planetary camera snapped its first photo (on the left) on Oct 27-28 after nearly a month of dormancy.

The snapshot, taken just a few days after Hubble was resurrected from its offline slumber, shows a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The galaxies lie more than 400 million light years away from Earth, in the constellation Cetus.

NASA and ESA scientists say the image indicates a full comeback, proof that the Hubble has recovered completely. The image is exciting for other reasons too, namely the chance alignment of the two galaxies. Take a closer look, and you'll see that the rose-colored galaxy on the left resembles a "1" and the shimmering periwinkle blue galaxy on the right forms an "0" shaped dense ring of star formation. A perfect 10!

The blue ring was formed after the left-most galaxy pushed through the galaxy on the right, causing a ripple of high density as the two galaxies collided. This excess density rammed into other material pulled inward by the gravitational pull of the two galaxies, producing shocks and dense gas.

No comments:

Post a Comment