After “just” a billion years, eventually, the black holes of two merging galaxies are colliding together in the most colorful scenery photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
Galaxy merger process can over a billion years
NASA says that a galaxy merger is a slow process that can take even more than a billion years.
“Two galaxies, under the inexorable pull of gravity, dance toward each other before finally joining together,” the space agency said in a release. “Simulations reveal that galaxies kick up plenty of gas and dust as they undergo this slow-motion train wreck.”
We’re just beginning to imagine the titanic forces involved when two galactic cores and their supermassive black holes merge like in this simulation. Click to see @NASAHubble reveal actual images of the process – within 10 million years of merger: https://t.co/x9Ig2bhXED pic.twitter.com/JSob7MefOS
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) November 8, 2018
The Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii were able to capture some high-res images throughout two decades.
In the photos, the galaxies can be seen as they’re bright yellow cores are crashing into each other.
Deep inside the dusty, messy cores of merging galaxies are pairs of black holes feasting on material and moving closer to coalescence. Near-infrared images by the Hubble and Keck telescopes are giving astronomers their best glimpse yet of this process: https://t.co/SZFqFt43GK pic.twitter.com/iwgnS9PU5n
— HubbleTelescope (@HubbleTelescope) November 7, 2018
They are surrounded by a massive cloud of gas and dust. The whole part of the process is called by experts the final phase of the galaxies’ union.
“Seeing the pairs of merging galaxy nuclei associated with these huge black holes so close together was pretty amazing,” Michael Koss, one of the researchers who studied the images, said in a release.
Milky Way and Andromeda will also merge
Astronomers also said that these black holes grow the quickest during the final stages of a galaxy merger which was also the case with these two galaxies that we’ve told you about.
#Hubble and #Keck observatories uncover #blackholes coalescing. These images reveal the final stage of a union between pairs of galactic nuclei in the messy cores of colliding galaxies. https://t.co/KX9U23Rp9g pic.twitter.com/BPCMFCaJEV
— HUBBLE (@HUBBLE_space) November 8, 2018
Researcher Laura Blecha said that the fact that black holes grow faster and faster as the merging process progresses shows that such galaxy encounters are really essential for experts’ understanding of how these objects can get such immense over time.
The images released by NASA may also offer some more insight into another galactic collision that will occur “next door”, but also in several billion years when our beloved Milky Way merges with neighboring Andromeda galaxy.
Rada attended the courses in the Faculty of Letters, Romanian-English section, and finished the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Theatrical Journalism section, both within the framework of Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Up till now, she reviewed books, movies, and theatre-plays, enjoying subjects from the cultural niche. Her experience in writing also intersects the IT niche, given the fact that she worked as a content editor for firms that produce software for mobile devices. She is collaborating with online advertising agencies, writing articles for several websites and blogs.