Wading through water

This striking image combines data gathered with the Advanced Camera for Surveys, installed on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. It shows just a part of the spectacular tail emerging from a spiral galaxy nicknamed D100.

Tails such as these are created by a process known as ram-pressure stripping. Despite appearances, the space between galaxies in a cluster is far from empty; it is actually filled with superheated gas and plasma, which drags and pulls at galaxies as they move through it, a little like the resistance one experiences when wading through deep water. This can be strong enough to tear galaxies apart, and often results in objects with peculiar, bizarre shapes and features — as seen here.

D100’s eye-catching tail of gas, which stretches far beyond this image to the left, is a particularly striking example of this phenomenon. The galaxy is a member of the huge Coma cluster. The pressure from the cluster’s hot constituent plasma (known as the intracluster medium) has stripped gas from D100 and torn it away from the galaxy’s main body, and drawing it out into the plume pictured here.

Densely populated clusters such as Coma are home to thousands of galaxies. They are thus the perfect laboratories in which to study the intriguing phenomenon of ram-pressure stripping, which, as well as producing beautiful images such as this, can have a profound effect on how galaxies evolve and form new generations of stars.

Links

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, Cramer et al.

 

About the Image

Id:potw1904a
Type:Observation
Release date:28 January 2019, 06:00
Size:2763 x 2072 px

About the Object

Name:D100, LEDA 44716, Mrk 60
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Interacting
Local Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Distance:350 million light years
Constellation:Coma Berenices
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.3 MB
Screensize JPEG
219.5 KB

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207.8 KB
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Coordinates

Position (RA):13 0 9.72
Position (Dec):27° 51' 54.56"
Field of view:0.74 x 0.57 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 4.3° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
475 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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